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I Often Think of Hawaii

This first film by Elfi Mikesch is a semi-documentary portrait of a Berlin family, contrasting the mundane daily life routine of Ruth and her 16-year-old daughter Carmen with an extraordinary fantasy life shared by mother and daughter, and built precariously on memories of Carmen's missing father. The father, who appears in the film only as a projection (in photos and reminiscences), was a Puerto Rican career soldier who met Ruth at a dance, promised to show her the world, but disappeared after a second child was born, leaving behind him only postcards and some Hawaiian records. With the help of director Elfi Mikesch, Carmen acts out her fantastic yearnings for an exotic world of tropical colors and dreams far removed from the drab reality of working-class Berlin, possibly as far removed as Honolulu. A very tender picture of youthful innocence flowering, however bizarrely, in a depressing domestic environment, I Often Think of Hawaii marks the debut of yet another promising talent in the ever-growing second wave of New German Cinema filmmakers.

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