Turkish-German director Fatih Akin released the movie “In July [Im Juli]” in the year 2000 when one of today’s superstars on the German cinema scene was just starting to make a name for himself: Moritz Bleibtreu, who, a couple of years earlier, had become a familiar face to German and American moviegoers in the Tom Tykwer movie “Run Lola Run,” plays the main protagonist in Akin’s movie. It is almost impossible to describe the storyline of “In July” with its numerous surreal twists and turns, but it should probably be categorized as a “roadtrip movie” with a strong romantic comedy bend. Moritz Bleibtreu’s character, Daniel, is desperately trying to get from Hamburg to Istanbul in time to meet the woman he thinks he is destined to love for the rest of his life. For most of the way, he is accompanied by Juli (Christiane Paul), a jewelry saleswoman, who has her own agenda on this roadtrip. The fortunes and misfortunes that befall poor Daniel on his way to Turkey are simultaneously hilarious and painful to watch, and the journey definitely changes the life and personality of the—formerly—very straight-laced high-school teacher Daniel. To no one’s particular surprise, the movie does have a happy ending, but for Daniel it is hard-earned. The movie is quite sweet and funny in many respects, but it does warrant a few words of caution for teachers: First, the language is very strong in some parts, actually more so in the English subtitles than it actually is in the German original. Second, there are scenes of drug use (marijuana, spiked drink), which are not particularly shocking to most American students, but which may not be acceptable by some school standards. Educationally, the movie does not have much to offer, except maybe an opening to discuss relationships between Germans and German Turks and ways in which the latter are represented in German movies, but it is entertaining enough to create and promote an interest in German cinema.
In July [Im Juli] is available from Amazon.com in German with English subtitles.
Trailer is available at imdb.