Residing in the Borderlands

For TAKE IX of our year-long, monthly film series Residing in the Borderlands, we are delighted to have Nguyễn Baly with us to watch a **surprise film** about two outsiders longing for pastures that are greener than Berlin, as well as Angelika Nguyen’s absolute classic Bruderland ist Abgebrannt

They explain their choice of films as follows: 

"Bruderland ist Abgebrannt illustrates the difficulties of Vietnamese contract workers following the fall of the wall. With the end of the GDR, a wave of racist incidents happened in Germany, some of which Angelika Nguyen captures in her documentary along with instances of everyday racism towards the Vietnamese community. I am very thankful that this film has been made, as it has provided me with an essential, albeit brief, look into what the life of my parents might have looked like during their initial years in Germany, a topic which until today hasn’t been discussed at all within my family. An invisibilized and largely forgotten reality, left out of most history books, this film constitutes a document of its era, allowing someone of my background to connect with an important part of my cultural history that might have been lost otherwise."

Describing our surprise film of the evening, Baly added: “It revolves around two outsiders who decided spontaneously to leave Berlin together. Without a cell phone or a map, they headed out towards Wallachia with a stolen Lada. When I first saw the film in 2016, I was able to immediately identify with the protagonist. Like him, I have a longing for pastures that are greener than Berlin, though where this place is, I have no idea. But that's maybe not so important as it is more the idea of sharing those unique life experiences with those we hold close to our hearts that resonates with me."

Nguyễn Balyis a queer non-bi(nary) Vietnamese-German sound artist. A child of former GDR contract workers, Baly was born in a West German village not long after the fall of the wall before moving with their family to former East Berlin when they were 9. Baly currently lives in former West Berlin. Baly studied Vietnamese, law and applied theatre studies. Recently, Baly has been exploring vulnerability, touch, feedback, proximity and sound together with Tara Transitory as Nguyễn + Transitory. Their collective performance »Bird Bird, Touch Touch, Sing Sing« was presented at CTM 2019 (Berlin), Worm (Rotterdam), Submerge 2019 (Bristol), PACT Zollverein (Essen), Serralves Museum (Porto) and Ultima 2019 (Oslo) amongst others.