Bezness as Usual

Karim Alexander Pitstra
Netherlands 2016 | 93 Min. | OmeU

I had no idea what to expect. Maybe my father was a member of the Tal­iban, living in a mud hut, deep in the desert, sur­round­ed by goats.” When he was about 25 years old, Karim Alex Pit­stra trav­eled to Tunis for the first time to get to know his father. He had mixed feel­ings about the jour­ney. He knew that he was the prod­uct of a hol­i­day affair: Like many Euro­pean women, his mother had vaca­tioned in the South, and like some of them, she returned home with a spe­cial sou­venir. Women tourists pro­vid­ed a liveli­hood for his father and many other men in Tunisia, and being a gigolo was by no means a shame­ful occu­pa­tion.

This auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal film fol­lows Pit­stra as he strug­gles to get to know his father over a process of many years, after which they grow apart again. The Dutch son is warmly wel­comed into the large Tunisian family and seems to get in touch with his father’s roots within him­self. But the dif­fer­ences between the two cul­tures cannot really be over­come. Family ties mean some­thing else in Tunisia than they do in the Nether­lands. In his clever film, Pit­stra man­ages to strike a bal­ance between per­son­al and gen­er­al, while at the same time main­tain­ing a sense of ambiva­lence and not let­ting one cul­ture dom­i­nate the other.

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Karim Alexan­der Pit­stra geb. 1979 in den Nieder­lan­den, studierte audio­vi­suelle Kom­mu­nika­tion in Leeuwar­den, dann Film an der Uni­ver­sität Gronin­gen. Nach eini­gen Tätigkeit­en in der Musikin­dus­trie begin­nt er, Filme zu machen. Er arbeit­et als Kam­era­mann bei Doku­men­tar- und Spielfil­men z.B. NICCI (2011, A. Nolles), SAM (2011, R. Dijk­ster­huis, P. Son­n­eveld), BEBOP (2011, Thijs Gloger) und mehrfach für Nathalie Beek­man (Pavlov E-lab). Er pro­duziert auch Auf­trags­filme u.a. für die Stadt Gronin­gen. Kurz­filme u.a. MIXTAPE (2004), SOLEX (2006), SEA DEVIL (2010), TRAGIC RELIEF (2011). Lang­filmde­but: DIE WELT (2013).