Ich denke oft an Hawaii

I Often Think of Hawaii
Carmen is 16. She spent her childhood in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, but now lives with her mother Ruth and her brother Tito in estate housing on the edge of the city. Her father, a Puerto Rican soldier, abandoned the family. All that’s left to remind them of him is a handful of exotic postcards and his record collection of Caribbean and Hawaiian music. Mother Ruth works as a cleaning lady. Carmen dreams of becoming a dancer. She talks thoughtfully about her daily life and her dreams. Replete in lavish make-up and flamboyant robes, she acts out her fantasies in front of the camera – “I dream of a great love”. Inspired by the camp aesthetics of American underground films, Elfi Mikesch’s documentary celebrates, without fear of pathos or bombast, a teenager’s “small escape” from the restrictions and routines of everyday life. Approaching her protagonist on equal terms, the director uses both picture and sound to develop a vision of an alternative tropical world as a counterpoint to West Berlin’s barren Gropiusstadt projects. And with that, it suddenly seems as if the conditions in those petty bourgeois living rooms could, in fact, be changed.
by Elfi Mikesch
with Carmen Rossol, Ruth Rossol, Tito Rossol
Federal Republic of Germany 1978 German 85’ Colour & Black/White Documentary form | Digitally restored version 2018 | DCP: Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin Rating R6


  • Carmen Rossol
  • Ruth Rossol
  • Tito Rossol


Written and Directed by Elfi Mikesch
Cinematography Elfi Mikesch
Editing Elfi Mikesch, Elfi Tillack
Costumes Elfi Mikesch
Producers Elfi Mikesch, Laurens Straub
Commissioning Editor Maya Faber-Jansen

Additional information

DCP: Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin

Elfi Mikesch

Born in Judenburg, Austria, in 1940, after training as a photographer she moved to Berlin in 1964. She works as a photographer, director of photography and director, and since 1976 has been making her own feature and documentary films. As director of photography she has worked with renowned directors such as Werner Schroeter, Rosa von Praunheim, Monika Treut and Harald Bergmann. She has been a member of the Berlin Academy of Arts in the film and media art section since 1991.

Filmography (selection)

1978 Ich denke oft an Hawaii 1980 Was soll'n wir denn machen ohne den Tod 1982 Macumba 1985 Verführung: Die grausame Frau 1989 Marocain 1997 Verrückt bleiben, verliebt bleiben 2000 Die Markus Family 2011 Mondo Lux – The world of images of Werner Schroeter · Judenburg findet Stadt 2014 Fieber

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019