Rostock, East Germany,
1992. Neo-Nazi’s prepare a massive attack on refugees and asylum-seekers, in a
big racist revolt known as the Night of Fire. Large-scale social drama that
examines the transformation of a young man into a Nazi activist, through the
eyes of the Nazis themselves and through those of the refugees and local
On 24 August 1992, a group of rioters in Rostock,
cheered on by more than 3,000 spectators, set fire to an apartment building
where 150 Vietnamese men, women and children lived. The riots were symbolic for
the xenophobia in recently reunited Germany. Burhan Qurbani, whose parents fled
from Afghanistan to Germany, reconstructs the shocking incident from three
different perspectives to look the monster in the eye.
For one day, Qurbani follows a group of bored
Neo-Nazis, Vietnamese Lien and ambitious local politician Martin, who has to
choose between his ideals and his career. Qurbani filmed his modest drama
largely in black & white, which makes the apartment blocks look even more
desolate. At a significant moment – when the media eagerly ask the rioters for
their story – he switches to colour.
Displaying no thirst for sensation, the director
evokes a period of transition. In the ideological vacuum that followed the fall
of the East German regime, destructive powers were able to grow.