Mr ZamberoniWhat inspired you to make this movie?
Two years ago we thought: What can we do about elections in America? Since my American wife and father-in-law are on opposite ends of the political spectrum, the idea was: We use our family’s thumbnail to show how this country is divided. This movie was called Trump, My American Family and Me, and since it got such a great response, we thought maybe we should continue. This film is intended to be a midterm review of Joe Biden, but also to consider the impact of what has happened since the January 6, Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights, the Mar-a-Lago raid. A family reunion in Montana this year was perfect for this.
You are the son of an Italian father and a German mother and married to an American woman. Does that play a role in your interest in looking at other worlds?
Yes Nice. I always found it rich and said: I don’t sit between two chairs, I sit on them. Of course one has to say that Italy has a positive connotation in Germany, not least because of Goethe. But I have a friend whose mother is German and whose father is Turkish – it was not always easy for him, but also a challenge.
Were there any surprises for you regarding what he was developing into America With Regards?
I have a feeling that some lightness has been lost. I’ve been to the US regularly and didn’t come back after only two years, but I had the impression that people were a little tired of it. And then you ask yourself, if the two-thirds don’t unilaterally accept the election result and if you want to see January 6th as some kind of omen – what will happen the next time the election approaches?
In the film you talk to your friend Richard, a professor of communications, in El Paso about the close border between the United States and Mexico, but not about the information crisis that is shaking this country – why?
We’ve had pretty long conversations about that too, but you have to decide one or the other. We never got to cover every aspect in 45 minutes. But we wanted to take a look at the current situations being discussed.
Video: ARD, Photo: NDR / Martin Kobold
But one seems to shy away from a difficult confrontation, like the one we see every evening on talk shows in Germany, right? Discussing sports, religion or politics has long been a taboo in American bars.
Yes, the regulars table does not exist in America. As my father-in-law says, you don’t talk about politics at a family party. Perhaps because it now threatens to become useless. It is best to avoid talking before falling. This is of course a problem for democracy as well if you don’t try to talk to the other side.
The feeling of intolerance is manifested in the film by your wife and father.
As he says of the two’s different attitudes, “There is nothing I can say to her or anything she can say to me that will change our attitudes.” But how are we supposed to get back together? I’ve always had a feeling in America that no matter who’s in the White House right now, there’s a common ground on which everyone stands. But is this still the case? Is democracy really stable enough for this development?
At one point she says: Both sides think the country is headed toward the abyss. Isn’t the polarization of American society also a conflict with the country’s self-image and future?
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