The opening scene of FAKE SOLDIERS, set on a basketball court with hip-hop music and breakdancers, plays with assumptions about culture and nationality. The first title card, “HFF ‘Konrad Wolf’ präsentiert,” shatters the expectation of a film set in the inner-city USA. Devotees of ‘90s German rap will recognize that the soundtrack is not imported but rather stems from Berlin/Cologne hip-hop group Mellowbag and Beatmaster Rae (among others). Made during his studies at the Film University Babelsberg, Idrissou Mora-Kpai’s short situates itself within the context of this transnational culture swap and the social capital of Americanness in post-reunification Germany. Obi schools Tamu in the finer art of the pick-up, and the two concoct a plan to pose as GIs to attract German women. This romantic comedy portrays the harsh reality that Blackness is often only welcomed when it takes the form of a visitor from afar. Framing themselves as foreign entities, the two men experience a temporary sense of belonging when they assume the preferred position for Black masculinities in Germany – on the outside. The hoax seems to remain undetected until Tamu has a final moment of reckoning. (Karina Griffith)
Idrissou Mora-Kpai, born in 1967 in Béroubouay, Benin. He studied North American studies and then directing. His documentaries about postcolonial African societies and African migration and diaspora have been awarded numerous prizes at prestigious international film festivals. He currently teaches at the Roy H. Park School of Communication at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York.
Production Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen "Konrad Wolf"Potsdam. Written and directed by Idrissou Mora-Kpai. Cinematography Bernhard Wießner. Editing Constanze Bayer. Ton Dominik Rätz. Production manager Ralf Ruschewitz. With Francis Codjoe, Mizrajim Komi Togbonou, Dean Burke, Caroline Peters, Christine Hille, Aloysius Itoka.
Films: 1994: Model (16 Min.). 1995: Ausländer (9 Min.). 1996: Fugace (15 Min.); Transient (11 Min.). 1999: Fake Soldiers (24 Min.). 2002: Si-Gueriki, la reine-mère / Si-Gueriki, the Queen Mother (62 Min.). 2005: Arlit, deuxième Paris / Arlit, the Second Paris, Forum 2005 (98 Min.). 2011: Indochine, sur les traces d'une mère / Indochina, Traces of a Mother (71 Min.). 2019: America Street (74 Min.).