1h 30min · Documentary · 28 November 2011
A knife in the pocket, adrenaline in the blood and only one dream in mind: to be a gangster - and the biggest one at that. Yehya was 15 years old and close to realizing his dream when he met the filmmaker Christian Stahl in the stairwell. Yehya wasn't just the nice boy from next door, he was also "the Boss of Sonnenallee" - one of the gangster runners of the Berlin borough of Neukölln. And gangster runners want to make it in the gangster world. In the eyes of the authorities, he is an "intensive offender"; in his own eyes, Yehya is "one of the top ten of Neukölln. I got my own prosecutor!" Yehya: the son of Palestinian refugees from Lebanon, a Rütli school student with straight Fs - and a jailbird doing time. At the age of 17, Yehya was convicted of robbery and sentenced to three years without parole. The director Christian Stahl followed Yehya through the years in prison and, at the same time, his family in Neukölln. The viewer is there as Yehya's image of the world and gangsterism wobbles, as he quickly goes up the ladder in prison hierarchy, as he turns to Islam, and as he suddenly himself becomes a victim while in prison. His father tries to solve the family problems with a pilgrimage to Mecca, Yehya's brothers follow in his footsteps, and the government wants to deport Yehya or send him back to the refugee camp in Beirut. His parents, who as refugees in Germany were not allowed to work for 14 years and stayed in their own world, are in despair. Gangster runner presents an impressive portrait of an "intensive offender" whose charm, criminal energy, and reflexivity astound and shock. Between Muslim traditions and gangster dreams, macho image and mosque, the ever-present war in the foreign homeland of the parents and the battle to survive in Europe.
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