Who's Got the Power?
Strong asymmetrical power relations & dependencies in films

Upcoming: La Pirogue - 28 April 2022 - 20:00h (onsite event)

A film by Moussa Touré. 2011. France, Senegal, Germany. 
Join us for the film and the post-screening talk at the Kino in der Brotfabrik, Bonn
See below for more details.

Who's Got the Power?

Film series and discussion about strong asymmetrical power relations and dependencies.

In cooperation with the Förderverein Filmkultur Bonn

Regardless of culture, region or era, human oppression can be found anywhere in the world. They appear in the shape of slavery, serfdom, debt bondage, forced labor and child labor, human trafficking, domestic violence or sexual exploitation. Strong asymmetrical power relations and dependencies seem to be a universal social phenomenon.

The Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS) at the University of Bonn is one of only three Clusters of Excellence in Germany in the field of humanities. Our international researchers explore the phenomenon of slavery and other forms of strong asymmetrical dependencies from numerous perspectives within the humanities and social sciences. In doing so, we want to bring to the fore the lives of the various oppressed people. Through their perspectives, the prevailing view of history is extended and revised, as besides slavery, further forms of strong asymmetrical dependencies come into view, such as serfdom, debt bondage, forced labor and child labor, human trafficking, domestic violence or sexual exploitation. This gives way to many pressing questions:

What are the mechanisms behind the hierarchisation of society? In what way do historic dependency relations affect our lives today? What can we learn from the past? Which forms of strong dependencies, oppression and hierarchisation do we have on our doorstep? Do we nurture them in any way?

The association Förderverein Filmkultur Bonn carries out participatory film work that is firmly based at the cultural centre Brotfabrik Bonn and at the same time extends far beyond the site. For over 30 years, the association has been organizing the Bonn International Silent Film Festival in the university's arcade courtyard. One of the tasks of the Förderverein Filmkultur is to provide the city of Bonn, as well as districts within the city that are further away from culture, with a renowned platform to enable artistic, political and international discourse using the medium of film.

The film screenings are followed by talks with the audience and members of the BCDSS. Everyone is welcome to take part!

For more talks, join Kinosophie "Philosphische Filmbetrachtungen" every second Thursday at Kino in der Brotfabrik.

We are curious about your views and want to engage in a conversation! The socially relevant issues that lie at the heart of the BCDSS only benefit society if they actually manage to reach the people. The aim is to make strong asymmetrical dependencies as tangible as possible. The medium of film is ideally suited for this as it conveys the impression of immediacy and is able to introduce us to various perspectives of strong asymmetrical power relations. The format "screening plus talk" gives us a chance to reflect on and question our cinematic experience.

For an introduction to some of the questions raised in the films see below.

Who's got the Power - Poster

Who's got the Power? - Download PDF poster/program here

See below for more information on the individual films.

Four times a year at the Kino in der Brotfabrik Kreuzstraße 16, 53225 Bonn (Beuel), Germany, unless stated otherwise.

It is recommended you book tickets in advance. See here for an overview of upcoming films at Kino in der Brotfabrik. To book one of our Who's Got the Power  films, see below. Ticket sale opens about 3 weeks prior to the screenings.

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Thomas Letellier

La Pirogue - 28 April 2022 - 20:00h

A film by Moussa Touré. France, Senegal, Germany, 2011 (87 minutes)
multilingual with German subtitles

Introduction: Sigrid Limprecht, Förderverein Filmkultur (FFK) and Abdelkader Al Ghouz, BCDSS
Talk: Sigrid Limprecht (FFK), Boluwatife Akinro and further BCDSS Representatives and the audience

Location: Kino in der Brotfabrik Kreuzstraße 16, 53225 Bonn (Beuel)
Watch the trailer.  Book your ticket now

Baye Laye is the captain of a fishing pirogue. When he is offered to lead one of the many pirogues that head towards Europe via the Canary Island, he reluctantly accepts the job, knowing full-well the dangers that lie ahead. Leading a group of 30 men who don't all speak the same language, some of whom have never seen the sea, Baye Laye will confront many perils in order to reach the distant coasts of Europe.

Food for thought
The film makes us question contemporary dependencies in the context of migration: What nurtures the dreams of a better future in Europe that tempts people into risking their lives? In which way is migration gendered? Is there such a thing as migrant economy? Who is the beneficiary? Why are the current deadly migration policies still in place? 

"Everybody has the right of freedom of movement, as set in the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, for many human beings today, there is neither the possibility of safe and legal migration nor of a secure future in their countries of citizenship . The film focuses on Senegalese citizens who decide to leave for Spain by boat. Many human beings lose their lives at the European border every year. According to the UNITED List of Refugee Deaths, 44.764 people died between 1993-2021 in relation to EU policy - most probably thousands more are never found. La Pirogue shows one of the attempts to reach Europe with a deep understanding of the passengers’ feelings, choices and dreams."
(Katja Girr, Doctoral Researcher at the BCDSS)


Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Sergio Leyva Seiglie

We the Cimarrons - 30 June 2022 - 20:00h

A film by Emma Christopher. Columbia, Australia, 2021 (53 minutes)
original with English subtitles

Introduction: Sigrid Limprecht, Förderverein Filmkultur, and Emma Christopher, film director & BCDSS Fellow 

Talk: Graciano Caicedo, Leader of the Yurumangui River Community (via Zoom) and the audience

Location: Kino in der Brotfabrik, Kreuzstraße 16, 53225 Bonn (Beuel)
Watch the trailer   Book your ticket now

In the River Yurumangui in Pacific Colombia, its people still identify as 'cimarrons', or  fugitives from slavery, in honor of their rebel ancestors. Today they are deliberately using this heritage to address the threats they face: environmental destruction, drug trafficking and armed conflict.

Food for thought
These Pacific Black communities won the right to consider their lands ancestral in 1993 and became semi-autonomous within the Colombian State seven years later. However, they are not free people. They are exposed to a strong asymmetrical power struggle against legal and illegal forces. Did dependency make them more vulnerable? How can they escape?

Colombia’s Pacific river communities, stretching along the coast between Buenaventura and Tumaco, are unique research environments, inhabited by people descended from enslaved forefathers who have lived as distinct populations for generations. Their ancestors were brought to mine gold but, with little day-to-day supervision, many managed to secure some degree of independence. Those in the Yurumanguí River, in which We the Cimarróns is set, are descendants of a slave rebellion in 1810 led by King Pascal I of the Yurumaguí.

Despite becoming semi-autonomous within the Colombian state more than 20 years ago, today their independence is as parlous as ever. Most of the rivers of Pacific Colombia have been taken over by illegal gold mining, overlogging, and coca cultivation/drug trafficking, and the Yurumanguí’s fight against this fate puts them in the crosshairs of brutal armed conflicts. It is a battle they see as a sacred duty, part of the same wars their ancestors fought. They continue to call themselves cimarróns, as they always have, and term the villages of the Yurumanguí ‘palenques’. After all, the Valencia and Mosquera families, once their ancestors’ owners, retain power, while they fight for survival. We the Cimarróns is a study in inter-generational dependency long after the end of slavery.
(Emma Christopher, film director and BCDSS Fellow)

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Sebastian Lessel / International Silent Movie Festival Bonn

Film tbc - August 2022

A film screening and post-screening talk is planned as part of the extended program of the Bonn International Silent Film Festival in August 2022. 

Location:  LVR Landesmuseum Bonn Colmantstr. 14-16, 53115 Bonn

The film selection for the International Silent Film Festival and the extended program is currently underway. We will update this section in due course.

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Mira Nair

Salaam Bombay - 24 November 2022 - 20:00h

A film by Mira Nair. India, 1988 (120 minutes)
original (Hindi) with German subtitles

Introduction: Sigrid Limprecht, Förderverein Filmkultur and BCDSS Representative

Talk: Claudia Jarzebowski & further BCDSS Representatives and the audience

Location: Kino in der Brotfabrik Kreuzstraße 16, 53225 Bonn (Beuel)

Ten-year-old Krishna is cast out from his home. He is not allowed to return home until he has earned 500 rupees. To get the money, he works in a circus. One day the circus moves on without him as Krishna runs errands. With his last money he buys a ticket to the next bigger city - Bombay. There he gets caught up in the red-light district: police, brothels, drug dealing, the world of cinema fantasies, and children everywhere who, like him, are fighting to survive.

Food for thought
The movie engages with varying forms of asymmetrical relationships that are forced primarily upon children and women. They are pushed to megacity by various factors but mainly by poverty. Here, the city is not just a place of arrival, it becomes a dreamscape. People initially conceive it as a place of hope; hence the allure of (push towards) the city. However, soon after their arrival, they end up bound in extreme forms of asymmetrical relationships such as in brothels or slums where their lives further unravel. As a social formation, like villages, the city has its underlying logic of patriarchy and casteism which deeply structure people’s lives. The movie clearly portrays how people are forced into extreme forms of asymmetrical dependencies. Money, men, and power are inextricably connected to the lives of the socially destitute and deprivations flourish, while those on the streets become interchangeable.
(Jahfar Shareef Pokkanali, PhD researcher BCDSS. See his whole review including detailed summary)

Any queries or suggestions

Avatar Jeblawei

Cécile Jeblawei

BCDSS Press and PR Manager

+49 228 73 62477

Wird geladen