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by David Clay Diaz

grade: 7

Close-ups of thoughtful faces, contemplative sunsets over the sea, but also colourful handprints creating a big painting fully convey the essence of Me, We. At the Diagonale 2021.

Many voices, one choir

Leaving one’s homeland to start a new life abroad. What could be more topical? But while the topic of immigration has been treated over and over again in films over the past few years, it is seldom – with the exception of specific documentaries – possible to observe this issue from the point of view of those who see numerous refugees arriving in their country. Yet looking at it from different points of view can be quite interesting and open our eyes to new realities and perspectives. This, for instance, is what young director David Clay Diaz did in his feature film Me, We, which premiered at the Diagonale 2021.

Me,We is an intense and by no means predictable ensemble movie, in which we see four stories, each showing us the many faces of a single reality. Marie (Verena Alterberger) leaves on behalf of an NGO to rescue refugees arriving in Europe by boat. Once she leaves, however, things do not go as she imagined. Marcel (Alexander Srtschin) is seventeen years old and decides to found a kind of society with his friends to accompany women who return home alone at night. Behind his intentions, however, lie dangerously racist thoughts. Petra (Barbara Romaner) welcomes Mohammed (Mehdi Meskar), a young refugee from Morocco, into her home. Their relationship, however, will become increasingly complicated. Finally, Gerald (Lukas Miko) runs a reception centre, but one of the young people housed there will cause him several problems.

Many stories, many points of view, many personalities that emerge as the film progresses. With his Me, We, David Clay Diaz has successfully given us the most comprehensive and multifaceted portrait not only of Austria, but also of today’s Europe. His characters may initially seem stereotypical to us, but they gradually reveal their true natures, their backgrounds immediately become clearer and our initial convictions are suddenly shattered.

These stories are not always connected. Yet they are all together voices of a single choir. A choir that is not always homogenous, not always in harmony, but which gives a good idea of today’s world, of all our prejudices, all our fears. Regardless of which nation we come from. Close-ups of thoughtful faces, contemplative sunsets over the sea, but also colourful handprints creating a large painting fully convey the essence of the film. The same applies to the language or, it would be better to say, to the many languages spoken: despite everything, one can almost always find a way to understand one another. And so this important and colourful feature film by David Clay Diaz fully reflects the meaning of a poem recited in 1975 by Mohammed Ali: Me, We, the world’s shortest poem.

Original title: Me, We
Directed by: David Clay Diaz
Country/year: Austria / 2020
Running time: 115’
Genre: drama, ensemble movie
Cast: Lukas Miko, Verena Altenberger, Barbara Romaner, Mehdi Meskar
Screenplay: David Clay Diaz, Senad Halilbasic
Cinematography: Julian Krubasik
Produced by: Coop99 Filmproduktion

Info: the page of Me, We on the website of the Diagonale; the page of Me, We on the website of the Austrian Film Commission