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|Laufzeit:||Ca. 92 Min|
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The image of a city is constantly on the move. A constant adaptation to the needs of the inhabitants and the economy must take place so that a city can function as a living space, employer and economic motor. The associated changes are not always pleasant, but often necessary. However, it becomes problematic when the (financial) interests of a few are placed above the needs of many. The buzzword here is gentrification - a problem that most large cities have to struggle with not only in Germany. One example of this is the Ehrenfeld district of Cologne, which is in danger of undergoing a drastic change when the Helios site, a former industrial site, is to be rebuilt. A shopping mall is to be built where clubs and concert halls, workshops and creative offices have shaped the quarter's image to date. For the Ehrenfelder, the area is one of the last alternative habitats to be preserved at all costs. And so there is an enormous protest against the plans of the big investors. The result is a citizen participation procedure, which is to ensure that the interests of economics and politics are likewise protected, like those of the citizenship.
Filmemacherin Anna Ditges accompanied the work of the citizens initiative and the happening approximately around the quarter two years long with the camera. The result is "Who owns the city", an entertaining and interesting documentary, which on the one hand has become an engaging portrait of a special "Veedel", but on the other hand also a very universal story about democracy in everyday life, protest and bureaucracy. Although the people of the neighborhood are at the center of the movie, and the sympathies of the audience clearly belong to them, Ditges doesn't make it that easy that she clearly positions herself and portrays the investors, who want to bring change to Ehrenfeld, as the personified evil. Rather, her film tries to represent both sides and to show what problems can arise in the attempts to bring these two sides together - and what surprising solutions can arise from them.
It is simply extremely interesting to learn which aspects have to be taken into account in such planning, how much desire and feasibility sometimes differ from each other, what compromises one has to make in order to reach one's goal, and how much bureaucracy can slow down any form of movement in the right direction. The processes that Ditges traces here can be easily transferred to any major city. So "Who owns the city" is by far not just a film about Cologne, but a film about life in German cities in general. The fact that such a topic, which rightly heats the minds of concerned citizens again and again, is presented in such a factual and yet entertaining way, so sympathetically and easily accessible, makes the film absolutely worth seeing for all friends of first-class documentaries and for all those who are generally interested in the topic!
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