Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Showing June 10th

by Dagmar Kamlah, D/US 2009, 66 min, color, 4:3, PAL

Short summary

When I immigrated to the US for my old love I felt caught in a laboratory situation. The new country asked for approach, but I kept my distance, capturing the variations of this experiment with my camera. Contrasting old and new world, home and the city, resistance and curiosity, BLUE JAY TERRITORY explores the thin line between selfconfidence and getting lost in anonymity.


When I came to live in Boston, I knew I would quickly loose my foreign eyes. I started filming. Most probably lifelong Americans wouldn’t bother to look at colorful water hydrants or trash barrels dancing in the streets after being emptied. Or a garbage disposal in the kitchen sink – in Germany we don’t have that. And a whole new animal kingdom! Being an amateur birder I was fascinated by all the new species.

My first approach was like an environmental research, scanning the differences. With time passing the issue got more complex. As a 50 year old with personal and professional ties I had left quite a bit behind. Immigration means identity loss at first and if you are lucky, you can change to another one. I had a nice home, but outside I was a foreigner.

Disconnected, staying anonymous, I filmed the backs of people in the streets instead of their faces. My German cat figured as a parallel, like me she was always on guard. I joined my husband, an electrician, at work in basements, attics, kitchens of numerous costumers, exploring even the inside of walls in foreign homes. But in my general approach I procrastinated, stayed biased.

With self-irony in narration and montage the film condenses the mechanisms and disaccords of my journey. No refugee’s drama, no political equation, no self-sufficient diary - but a visual document of disruptions that shape migrant experience.