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Written by Maria Nicola
Ali is one of the main characters in the film. He is an Arab worker who lives in German and who meets by chance with Emmi. Ali is much younger than Emmi, Ali being in his thirties. He is a hardworking man, who likes to occasionally party with his friends. He likes Emmi almost immediately and between them forms a bond. When Emmi tells him that she told her landlord that they will get married, he considers it as being a good idea so the two get married quickly. While Ali loves Emmi, he is affected by how the others perceive him. Because of this, he thinks that he is less o a man than those around him and even thinks that the Germans who call him an animal are right. Ali manages to maintain a positive attitude but he is shattered when he notices that Emmi adopted some of the ideas other German people had about foreigners. This pushes him to cheat on her and makes his ulcer worst. The pair reconciles in the end and Ali tells Emmi that she is the only woman he loves.
Emmi is an old German woman who falls in love with a much younger Arab man. She was married before meeting Ali with a Polish immigrant who died because of liver problems. She is presented as an independent woman who went against her parent’s wishes regarding a marriage partner. It is no surprise then she and Ali became involved in a relationship and that they got married. In the beginning of their relationship, Emmi was very accepting of his culture but as time went by, she started to adopt some extremist ideas. This shift was caused by the negative reactions of those around her including her own children. When she realizes that she pushed Ali away, she tries to make him make her forget her. At the end of the film, she tells the doctor that she will take care of Ali, thus hinting that she will not let herself be influenced by negative reactions.
An old woman who lives in the same apartment building as Emmi.
Eugene is Krista’s partner. He is presented as being lazy and violent.
Krista is Emmi’s adult daughter. She is the first to find about her mother’s feelings towards Ali. When she finds that Emmi and Ali got married, she calls her mother a whore before leaving her apartment. In comparison with her brother, she didn’t tried to talk to her mother after her announcement.
Mr. Gruber is the landlord’s son. He visits Emmi after he finds that a man lives with her, thinking that she rented a room to Ali. When Emmi tells him that they plan to get married, he changes his attitude and congratulates them. He also tells the other women who live in the same apartment building as Emmi to not be so critical about Emmi’s choice and to leave her be.
Albert is one of Emmi’s sons. He appears briefly in the scene where Emmi tells her children about her marriage to Ali. Just like his siblings, he expresses his anger towards her decision before leaving his mother’s apartment.
Bruno is Emmi’s son present when his mother announced that she and Ali had gotten married. His reaction is the most violent one, Bruno starting to hit the TV. He is the only one who apologizes to his mother and tries to repair his relationship with her.
Mrs. Paula Borchert
She is a woman who works with Emmi and came to her house to ask her to fill in for her on a work day because a relative of hers passed away. When she sees Ali, she leaves in a hurry claiming that she doesn’t need her help.
He is one of the policemen who came to Emmi’s apartment when she had Ali’s friends over.
She is one of Emmi’s coworkers. Just like the rest of Emmi’s coworkers, Frieda criticized Emmi for choosing Ali as her husband and stopped talking to her. It is later revealed that Frieda was fired because she was stealing from the workplace.
Ellis is one of Emmi’s neighbors who criticize her for marring Ali. She makes harsh allusions that hint that Ali is unclean and unworthy of living in the same apartment building as other respectable German people. Ellis changes her attitude when she realizes that she needs Emmi’s cellar.
Anton is the owner of a small shop near Emmi. He refuses to serve Ali, claiming that he doesn’t understand what he wants. In reality, he refuses to serve him because of his skin color. Anton changes his attitude when he realizes that he lost a loyal customer.
Yolanda is introduced at the end of the film as Emmi’s new coworker. Just like Ali, she is a foreigner as well and is not easily accepted by those around her.
Barbara is the bar owner of the place frequented by Ali and his friends. At first, she shares her friend’s point of view regarding Ali and Emmi’s relationship but her actions prove in the end that she wants Ali to be happy. It is hinted that Ali and Barbara had a sexual relationship in the past and they end up spending the night together as well after Ali and Emmi have a fight.
Adele is the Anton’s partner. She advises Anton to treat Emmi and Ali with respect to have them as their customers again.
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