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 politicians.
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.