Rabiye Kurnaz gegen George W. Bush

Rabiye Kurnaz vs. George W. Bush
Rabiye Kurnaz is someone you might generally call an ordinary woman, except that she is a real dynamo. Taking care of her children and much more, she is the one running the show in her terraced house in Bremen. Shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001, her son Murat is accused of terrorism and is (one of the first) shipped off to Guantanamo prison camp. This marks the beginning of a journey into the heart of world politics for this resolute German-Turkish woman. Together with human rights lawyer Bernhard Docke, whom she soon has completely on her side (like almost everyone around her), she battles for the release of her son – using her very own brand of self-taught English – all the way to the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.
Cologne-based comedienne, author, presenter and much more Meltem Kaptan is the perfect fit for Andreas Dresen’s special talent for combining explosive topics (in this case based on actual events) and the everyday concerns of the average citizen. Kaptan’s, or rather Rabiye’s, performance is overwhelming, and not just for the lawyer (played by Alexander Scheer) who quickly becomes a friend. A portrait of a passionate woman who holds the steering wheel of her beloved vehicle as firmly in her hand as she does the reins in this turbo-charged film.
by Andreas Dresen
with Meltem Kaptan, Alexander Scheer, Charly Hübner, Nazmi Kirik, Sevda Polat, Abdullah Emre Öztürk, Şafak Şengül, Jeanette Spassova, Abak Safaei-Rad, Alexander Hörbe
Germany / France 2022 German, Turkish, English 119’ Colour


  • Meltem Kaptan (Rabiye Kurnaz)
  • Alexander Scheer (Bernhard Docke)
  • Charly Hübner (Marc Stocker)
  • Nazmi Kirik (Mehmet)
  • Sevda Polat (Nuriye)
  • Abdullah Emre Öztürk (Murat)
  • Şafak Şengül (Fadime)
  • Jeanette Spassova (Secretary Koslowa)
  • Abak Safaei-Rad (Wiebke)
  • Alexander Hörbe (Wolfgang)


Director Andreas Dresen
Screenplay Laila Stieler
Cinematography Andreas Höfer
Editing Jörg Hauschild
Music Johannes Repka, Cenk Erdoğan
Sound Design Oswald Schwander
Sound Ralf Krause, Peter Schmidt
Sound Mixing Ralf Krause
Production Design Susanne Hopf
Costumes Birgitt Kilian
Make-Up Grit Kosse, Uta Spikermann
Casting Karen Wendland
Assistant Director Claudia Beewen
Line Producer Fee Buck
Producers Claudia Steffen, Christoph Friedel
Commissioning Editors Christian Granderath, Cooky Ziesche, Carlos Gerstenhauer, Annette Strelow, Andreas Schreitmüller, Olivier Père, Rémi Burah
Co-Producers Andreas Dresen, Andreas Leusink, Tom Dercourt
Co-Production Iskremas Filmproduktion Berlin
Cinéma Defacto Paris
NDR Hamburg
rbb Berlin
BR München
Radio Bremen Bremen
Arte Straßburg
Arte France Cinéma Paris

Andreas Dresen

Born in Gera, Germany in 1963, he gained his first practical film experience as an assistant director at DEFA. He subsequently studied directing at the University of Film & Television “Konrad Wolf” in Potsdam-Babelsberg and, since 1992, has been a writer and director of film, theatre and opera. His film Grill Point was a worldwide success and won awards including the Silver Bear at the 2002 Berlinale. In 2011, Stopped on Track won the “Un Certain Regard” award at Cannes. Gundermann was released in cinemas in 2018 and won six German Film Awards including Best Film. Rabiye Kurnaz gegen George W. Bush is his fourth film to screen in the Berlinale Competition.

Filmography (selection)

1992 Stilles Land 1997 Raus aus der Haut 1999 Nachtgestalten (Night Shapes) 2000 Die Polizistin 2002 Halbe Treppe (Grill Point) 2003 Herr Wichmann von der CDU (Vote for Henryk!); documentary 2004 Willenbrock 2005 Sommer vorm Balkon 2008 Wolke 9 (Cloud 9) · Whisky mit Wodka 2011 Halt auf freier Strecke (Stopped on Track) 2012 Herr Wichmann aus der dritten Reihe (Henryk from the Back Row); documentary 2014 Als wir träumten (As We Were Dreaming) 2017 Timm Thaler oder das verkaufte Lachen (The Boy Who Sold His Laughter) 2018 Gundermann 2022 Rabiye Kurnaz gegen George W. Bush (Rabiye Kurnaz vs. George W. Bush)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022