To consider then who the spectators are for these films and how they understand the functioning of the interzone, I developed a brief survey. I administered it on a regular basis during the October 2009-April 2010 season, at different times and on different days in order to reach different audiences. I passed it out before the film began and remained for the film, collecting it afterward. The survey is in German and Turkish. It first
Figure 9.1 Education Level of the Participants (Haupt: Hauptschule=Secondary General School;
Mittel: Mittelschule=Intermediate Secondary School; FachHoch: Fachhochschule=Technical School; Abitur=Highschool diploma; Diploma=State Examination Masters Level) asks questions about general film spectatorship and then addresses Karli Kino specifically, e.g., the audience members' views of the ambiance and their motivation for coming to that theater. Furthermore, it inquires about the relationship to the films in subtitled form and the background of the respondent.
I administered one hundred questionnaires out of which eighty-seven were completed, almost quadruple that of Bonfadelli's survey. The gender distribution was balanced in that 56 percent of the respondents were female and 44 percent were male. The average age group was thirty to thirty-five years old. Of the eighty-seven respondents, eighty-three reported their education level. The distribution suggests that those interviewed were a highly educated group.
Other studies have suggested that cinema is not a specific form of entertainment for German Turks, but those studies have neglected to note that they do not differ greatly from the German majority population among which attendance frequency is 1.6 visits to the cinema per year (Filmforderungsanstalt 2009). We can say that regardless of ethnic background, residents of Germany in general prefer to stay home and watch television and DVDs. However, the audience at Karli Kino is by comparison an avid film audience. The majority of the respondents were frequent moviegoers in that 25 percent saw movies six to twelve times a year, followed by the group seeing one to two movies a month. Those who saw as little as a couple of movies a year or as much as one to two times a week were a small minority.
To be sure, very few people who identified as ethnic Germans attended screenings. However, the audience replicates Ql's understanding of
Figure 9.2 How Frequently Do You Go to the Movie Theater? the Turkish community in that Kurds and Alevites also constitute a significant number of spectators. In part this may have to do with the fact that Turkish popular cinema has begun to include positive images of Kurds, even in nationalist productions such as Gunesi Gordum (I Saw the Sun, 2009) or Nefes: Vatan Sagolsun (The Breath, 2009). The Turkish program is popular with a younger crowd, and it is likely that the cinema is functioning for youth especially as a collective gathering place. The cinema offers an alternative to other types of entertainment such as music venues, cafe culture, youth centers, sports, and so on. Certainly it seems that there is among the respondents a preference for Turkish films but also an ambivalence vis-a-vis German and preference for Hollywood films. And again in this regard the German Turkish audience seems to differ little from all spectators in Germany, where overall the general population attends Hollywood films in greater numbers than German films. Rather than understand this preference for Hollywood among German Turks as a special rejection of a dominant German society, we can understand it as a sign of integration. The choice to attend Turkish films is typical subcultural activity defined by mass media and group taste. In this regard, it remains to be seen how much Turkish film attendance serves simultaneously as a form of distinction and integration into typical behaviors of youth in general. Clearly cinema becomes a choice within larger cultural parameters.
Further analysis of the data will add to the complexity of understanding the audience. It is important to underscore here that the question of ethnicity should not be taken as a homogenizing form of identification. Certainly from the start of this essay, with the framing attention to German Turks and their audiovisual preferences, the discussion runs the risk of developing an ethnically essentializing approach. However, the results reveal indeed the flexibility of identification described by Ql. To view Turkish-language programming does not directly mean one is a "Turk"; rather, various forms of ethnicity as well as other factors come into play. Attendance at the program offered by Maxximum and Kinostar at venues such as Karli Kino can be motivated by factors of age, gender, genre interest, linguistic training, family and/or age cohort interests, and so on. Indeed, rather than reveal a particularizing interest in the Turkish German population, the statistics reveal certain similarities with the overall viewing practices of the entire population in Germany. If we recognize the cinema and its larger apparatus described here as giving structure and support to an interzone, then attendance at Turkish- language programming can be understood as a form of integration into the general popular culture industry.
While we might anticipate that the difference between a film from Turkey and a Turkish German film is that the Turkish films are largely outside of the discourses that operate in the German public sphere, such an approach does not contend with the very real complexities of production that have arisen in the European film industry. The Turkish film industry does not operate distinctly from other national film industries, especially the German one. Nor does the hidden corollary mean that in Germany to watch Turkish film is a sign of a disinterest in German society, even a turning away from that society. Cinema rather becomes an interzonal space in which a new form of culture arises, defined more by market and social interests than by expressly political ones.
Importantly these films do not represent a presence of foreign moving images flickering across the screens of German cinemas. Rather they represent a fundamental cultural transformation that cuts across noncontiguous borders, bringing into proximity places that were once distant, and constructing new ideational spaces or interzones. For those who express an anxiety about the future of Germany, we can underscore that the German nation has become a member state along with twenty- seven others. And for those who resist understanding Turkey as a potential member state in the European Union, the dynamic cinematic apparatus of production, distribution, and exhibition derives as much from German and European presence in Turkey as it does from Turkey's presence in Germany. The transformation taking place is not a union among equals but, as noted throughout this essay, one of conflict and a certain polyphonic dialogism. The cinema of the interzone offers a fundamentally important place for the experience of new imaginative communities.
In preparing the survey I received advice and support from Mohammed Bamyeh, Suzanna Crage, Derya Ozkan, Kristin Dickinson, and Ceyda Kirci, and would like to thank them for their assistance. Ba§ak Yavgan-Ural was instrumental in dealing with the data, and is an equal partner in the analysis of the survey. I am very grateful for the privilege of working with her.