Bedlam in a classroom; a foot on a desk; someone making a face; a voice – obviously the teacher’s – trying to get things under control; two kids fighting in the corner. In a word: Ghetto. “The worst fucking ghetto room in the entire school” as the superintendent calls it, adopting the vocabulary of Xhumi, Müke and the other kids, who are in the last months of their compulsory education.
We accompany a handful of teenagers on their forays into department stores, listen to techno musik, stand on the sidelines as a big kid picks on someone half his size. But the film has nothing of the usual voyeuristic sensationalism à la reality TV; it is rather a patently constructed, analytical montage of reality that opens out into times and spaces, and provides food for thought.
Ghetto is divided into six loosely interwoven chapters. Each of the six chapters has its own coloring, its own pace and actors, its own treatment of the raw material. And each has its own distinctive scenery – interspersed shots of the geographical or architectural environment in which the young protagonists live. –First Hand Films
Thomas Imbach is a Swiss maverick director, whose work is visual, edgy and performance driven. In 2007 he founded Okofilm Productions together with director/ producer Andrea Štaka. With Well Done (1994) and Ghetto (1997) he established his trademark audio-visual style based on a combination of cinema-verité camera-work and fast-paced computer controlled editing. His fiction feature films Happiness is a Warm Gun (which was nominated for the Golden Leopard at Locarno in 2001), Lenz (2006) and I was a Swiss Banker (2007) all premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival.