Film Screening Becoming Black (2019), dir. Ines Johnson-Spain

Becoming Black - 2300x1000 Still Becoming Black - 2300x1000 Still

Di, 28.02.2023

18:30 Uhr

Goethe-Institut Washington @ The Liz

In celebration of Black History Month, the Goethe-Institut Washington would like to spotlight an important Afro-German voice in film by screening Ines Johnson-Spain's 2019 documentary Becoming Black.
RSVP Summary

Imagine that your parents are white but your skin color is dark, and you're told that it's all pure coincidence. This is what happened to a young girl in East Berlin during the 1960s.

Years before, a group of young men from West Africa came to study in an East German village. There, a local woman named Sigrid fell in love with Lucien from Togo, and became pregnant. But she was already married to Armin, a white German.

The child is filmmaker Ines Johnson-Spain. Meeting her stepfather Armin and others from her childhood years, Johnson-Spain tracks the astonishing strategies of denial that her parents, loved ones, and community members developed.

In an intimate portrayal – but also critical exploration – Johnson-Spain brings together painful and confusing childhood memories with matter-of-fact accounts that testify a culture of rejection and tight-lipped denial.
Yet the movingly warm encounters with her Togolese family also develop Becoming Black into a reflection on themes such as identity, social norms, and family ties, seen from a very personal perspective.

About the Filmmaker

Ines Johnson-Spain is an independent German/Togolese filmmaker based in Berlin. She studied Sciences of Religions at Freie-Universität Berlin (FU) and was a guest student for Fine Arts and Painting at University of Arts Berlin.

She worked for many years as a scenic painter and in various positions of the art departments of national and international film productions (e.g. Peter Greenaway, The Tulse Luper Suitcases; Anders Thomas Jensen, Men and Chicken; Lana Wachowsky, Sense8; Andrej Swjaginzew, Die Verbannung).