BOMBAY CHAPTER: Mohile Parikh Centre for Contemporary Culture (MPC3), Bombay
March 25th , 2005
8.30 pm (Film)

VIENNA CHAPTER: Kuenstlerhaus, Vienna
May 21st, 2005
6.30 pm (Film)

BERLIN CHAPTER: Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
August 11th, 2005
10.00 pm (Film)
August 13th, 2005
11.00 am (Film lecture)

Film / Film lecture:
Star Biz

Directors: Merle Kroeger and Dorothee Wenner
Germany 2005, Video, 85 min, engl./german/hindi, engl. subtitles, Photography: Bernd Meiners, Editing: Merle Kroeger, Music: Philip Scheffner, Sound: Pascal Capitolin

Germans who spend time in India are surprisingly often approached on their view on ‘the Mercedes’ – even when the traveller is quite ignorant about cars and often not as well informed about the issue as the interlocutor from the other end of the world. As much as this may please the car company in Sindelfingen – the consequences and implications of this associative link are too labyrinthine and complex to be dealt with simply looking at the number of cars sold in the respective countries.
This is precisely the subject of the documentary ”Star Biz”. Using Mercedes as a ‘symbol’, the documentary examines the process of cultural appropriation of Western consumer and luxury goods in India. It aims to be a critical, amusing and insightful case study of a car as typical consumer good in the age of globalisation. Through buying a Mercedes, the customer in India also purchases a certain lifestyle – a lifestyle differing hugely between India and Germany, however. Accordingly, the company takes great care to nurture this image, including attempts to brief Bollywood producers on appropriate product placement. The film follows Bombay based script-writer Urmi Juvekar, struggling to find story-lines about “the car with a star” -- at the same time as diplomatic negotiations between the DC management and a tycoon of the Hindi Cinema aim to combine “star-values” from very different planets.

Merle Kroeger is a filmmaker, writer and curator, based in Berlin. She has been directing and editing documentaries and video art since 1991. In 2003 she published her first novel “Cut!”. Merle Kroeger is one of the curators of Import Export.

Dorothee Wenner is a freelance journalist, writer and filmmaker based in Berlin. Since 1990, she has been a member of the selection committee of the International Forum of New Cinema/Berlinale. Dorothee Wenner is one of the curators of Import Export.

Respondent (Film lecture): Vinzenz Hediger, film scholar, Ruhr-Universitaet, Bochum

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