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Trailer / Teaser

The Empty Grave

Das leere Grab
by Agnes Lisa Wegner, Cece Mlay
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Songea, Tanzania. John Mbano is on a mission to find the human remains of his great-grandfather, Songea Mbano, who was executed by the German colonial army. The family’s mourning has been passed down through the generations at Songea’s grave in which his head never found a resting place. Instead, it was shipped to Germany for racist research. John and his wife Cesilia embark on a life-changing journey. Buoyed by their resilience as they research, they finally decide to travel to Berlin to find the remains of John’s ancestor. There, they encounter activists whose voices are fighting Germany’s culture of denial. Along with them, the Mbanos confront those in power with their need to bring their ancestor home. What follows is a rollercoaster ride of new hopes and familiar disappointments. Even the historic visit of the German Federal President to John’s hometown fails to bring the beloved ancestor back home. The family’s search continues.
Das leere Grab offers a personal perspective: behind the global debate about the return of ancestral remains, we find real people. People violated by a colonial past and its aftermath to this day. Their struggle paves a way to a future disentangled from a painful past.

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