Simone Wendel’s KINGS OF KALLSTADT
I saw this documentary film at the 2016 Traverse City Film Festival in Michigan. It explores the roots of the Trump and Heinz families from the perspective of the residents of small rural town in Kallstadt, Germany.
Donald Trump is interviewed but the bulk of the film is devoted to views and interviews with Kallstadt residents both there and during a special trip to New York City to march in a German Day parade.
Be aware that the film is NOT political as it explores how folks in the “old country” view their own lives now and how some of the folks who left a long time ago “made it big” in America.
Seeing a small Mayberry-like town through the eyes of a few of the residents is quite enjoyable and occasionally very funny. My mother’s family came from Germany and I remember how my grandparents would occasionally speak German when we visited them when I was growing up in Columbus, Ohio. I also have wonderful memories of a driving tour my wife and I took there when our children were little, an experience that convinced us to buy a German car when we returned.
The only jarring thing about the film is the occasional appearance of Donald Trump himself. His on-screen lack of sincerity contrasts sharply with the openness of the Kallstadt residents when they are interviewed before and after their special visit to the U.S. Their comments about attendance at a U.S. major league baseball game are priceless!
A minor quibble: the English subtitles are white and occasionally difficult to read. Other than that, seeing the film made me want to go driving around Germany again.
Review copyright (c) 2016 by Dennis D. McDonald. Updated Feb. 16, 2017.