Zwischen Welten (2014)


Inbetween Worlds (German: Zwischen Welten) is a 2014 German drama film produced, written and directed by Feo Aladag.


Jesper is a soldier in the German army. Although his brother was killed whilst serving in Afghanistan, he nevertheless reports for a new tour of duty in this war zone. He and his unit are to protect a remote village from the Taliban. One of the people accompanying Jesper is a young interpreter, Tarik, whose job includes mediating between soldiers and villagers. Both sides have a hard time trying to overcome the differences in their respective ways of life. Jesper must gain the trust of both villagers and the allied Arbaki militia and his nerves are soon on edge. He finds himself increasingly morally conflicted as a result of his superiors’ orders. His association with the Germans means Tarik’s life is constantly under threat, but when Tarik begins to fear for his sister’s safety, Jesper has to make a decision. Feo Aladag uses this portrait of an ISAF soldier in Afghanistan to explore questions of affinity and otherness, trust and failure. How humane can your actions be if you are bound by the workings of a strict military bureaucracy? What remains of the ideals of human dignity when you are caught up in a daily struggle for survival?


  • Ronald Zehrfeld as Jesper
  • Mohamad Mohsen as Tarik
  • Saida Barmaki as Nala
  • Salam Yousefzai as Haroon
  • Burghart Klaußner as Oberst Haar
  • Felix Kramer as Oli
  • Pit Bukowski as Teckl
  • Tobias Schönenberg as Petze
  • Roman-Timothy Rien as Sepp
  • Abdul Sabor Rasooly as Zia Khan
  • Sher Aqa as Malik Habib
  • Ali Reza as Fela



Feo Aladag came up with the idea of making a film about German soldiers in Afghanistan when she saw a newspaper photograph showing a German soldier in Afghanistan back in 2002/2003.

It seemed unfair to her how the work of German soldiers was being reflected in German society she describes in an interview with the magazine Indie Wire: “Too much of too unreflected United We Stand makes me shiver, but too little respect for commitment and bravery make me feel worse. […] It seemed time to shift perspective and move beyond the trauma. It’s vital to communicate, to tell stories, to trigger some sort of dialogue and empathy by generating options of identification”.

Aladag’s research began with much reading about the German army and Afghanistan. During research, she made three trips to Afghanistan, each time for two to three weeks. She lived with German soldiers, accompanied them on patrols, made contact with the locals and listened to their stories. Like the one of the 18-year-old Afghan main actor Mohsin Ahmady who does not know his exact date of birth and has had first-hand experience of what it means to grow up in Afghanistan: In 2002, while still a pupil at the Gore Mar High School, he had to deal with the death of his father. Since then, as an eldest son, he has worked in order to earn money for his family and taken every opportunity to advance his education.

Filming Locations

Inbetween Worlds was shot primarily on location in northern Afghanistan, in and around the cities of Mazar-e-Sharif and Kunduz. This was necessary for the highest authenticity in environment, cast and atmosphere. Director Aladag said “I didn’t want a German Turk speaking a fantasy dialect in Morocco”. Shooting locations in Germany were North Rhine Westphalia and Lower Saxony.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Feo Aladag
  • Producer(s):
    • Feo Aladag … executive producer / producer
    • Karsten Aurich … line producer
    • Daniel Blum … commissioning editor: ZDF
    • Hans W. Geissendörfer … co-producer
    • Olaf Grunert … commissioning editor: arte
    • Andreas Schreitmüller … commissioning editor: arte
  • Writer(s):
    • Feo Aladag … (written by)
    • Matthias Kock … (co-written by)
    • Judith Kaufmann … (co-written by)
  • Music:
    • Karim Sebastian Elias … co-composer
    • Jan A.P. Kaczmarek
  • Cinematography:
    • Judith Kaufmann
  • Editor(s):
    • Andrea Mertens
  • Production:
    • Independent Artists Filmproduktion
    • Geißendörfer Film- und Fernsehproduktion (GFF) (co-production)
    • Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF) (co-production)
    • ARTE (co-production)
    • MEDIA Programme of the European Union
    • ZDF/Arte
  • Distributor(s):
    • Filmarti (Turkey, 2014)
    • Aya Pro (Japan, 2014) (theatrical)
    • Eurozoom (France, 2014) (theatrical)
    • Majestic Filmverleih (Germany, 2014) (theatrical)
    • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Germany, 2014) (Majestic, Blu-ray, DVD)
    • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Germany, 2014) (Majestic, DVD)
    • Yleisradio (YLE) (Finland, 2016) (TV)
  • Release Date: 11 February 2014 (64th Berlin International Film Festival) and 27 March 2014 (general release, Germany).
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 98 minutes.
  • Country: Germany.
  • Language: German, English, Pashtu, and Dari.

Video Link(s)

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