Synopsis by Gönül Dönmez-Colin
When young Turkish talent Kutlug Ataman wanted to make a film about transvestites, the first location he had in mind was Istanbul. As he developed the script, his thought was to place these marginal characters, who are subject to societal prejudices in an environment where there is already discrimination, would add dramatic effect. Supported by funding from German sources, Ataman set his story in Berlin, inside the community of "guest workers" where Turkish transvestites are shunned not only by Germans, but by their own kind as well. The result is a strong film with moments of tenderness, emotion and laughter juxtaposed with the harsh realities of life for those who dare to be different. 16 year old Murat (Baki Davrak) is a Turk who is curious about gay life and eventually submerges himself in the gay hustler and transvestite subculture. He is taken by the free and easy atmosphere of the dimly lit bars and the appearance of camaraderie among this marginal community, while at home his very conservative brother Osman (Hasan Ali Mete) rules with an iron fist. Murat finds the brotherly love denied at home in a transvestite, Lola (Gandi Mukli), who turns out to be his actual brother, disowned by Osman years ago. As more family secrets come to the open, violence erupts. Murat survives the ensuing tragedy and finally finds a way of living his own life. Most of the players in this film are non-professional actors from Berlin's Turkish community (and incidentally, not all of them are gay or transvestite). Veteran German actress Inge Keller, who plays the mother of Frederich, an aristocrat who risks his social standing because of his passion for Bilidikid (Erdal Yildiz), is the only famous name among the cast. Clever editing by Ewa J. Lind prevents a downhill flow into sheer melodrama by periodically mixing the narrative with dynamic performances in Turkish transvestite bars, as if giving the audience a chance to fuel up before charging them with the next powerful emotion. Night scenes in the desolate parks of Berlin accentuate the loneliness of the characters with impressive camerawork by Chris Squires. Lola und Bilidikid opened the Panorama section of the 49th International Berlin Film Festival, 1999 and won the Teddy Bear Award given to gay/lesbian films.
brother, community, discrimination, Germany, homosexual, subculture, transvestite, Turkish [nationality]