Elephant Heart / Elefantenherz
Year of release: 2002
Directed by: Züli Aladag
Züli Aladag's feature film debut Elephant Heart is a coming-of-age story about a young boxer in the amateur league, who dreams of going professional but has to learn what sacrifices he has to make if he wants to reaslise his ambition. At the centre of the strory is Marco - played by Germany's rising star Daniela Brühl (Good Bye, Lenin! and The Edukators) - a young amateur boxer searching for his own identity.
Coming from a working class backtournd and always down on his luck, stepping into the ring and striking the final angry punch is Marco's only escape. Wild, uncontrollable and uncompromising. Against all advice he accepts the challenge to turn professional and in turn he puts himself onto a roller coaster and his life will never be the same. (Summary 6th German Film Festival, London 2003)
Elephant Heart pays tribute to boxing films such as Raging Bull and Rocky while at the same time betraying some affinities with French banlieue cinema which blends the specificity of ethnic minority experiences with those of other underprivileged youths. Elephant Heart depicts the social malaise in an urban ghetto (in Duisburg) juxtaposing the social problems encountered by German working-class Marco and his best friend and sparring partner Bülent, who is of Turkish origin. One of their favourite retreats is the flat roof of a towerblock overlooking the city, a space also associated with marginalised ethnic youth in French cinema.