Romance alert: “habibi” is a term of affection that means “my love” in Arabic and Turkish. In the follow-up to his award-winning short, DAS PHALLOMETER, writer/director Tor Iben focuses his lens on the story of Ibo, short for Ibrahim (Cem Alkan), a gentle, closeted college graduate of Turkish heritage. Ibo comes across Ali, short for Alexander (Martin Walde), a straight, criminally-inclined German wrestler, and is instantly mesmerized.
As the two men forge a surprising but mutually beneficial friendship, both are pushed into honesty: Ali must learn to give up his criminal ways, while Ibo must reveal his authentic self to those around him. Iben has found a revelation in Alkan, who, in his debut performance, portrays Ibo with sensitivity and subtlety.
With its director’s signature candour, humour, and insight, the film also meditates expertly on the experiences of working-class Turkish immigrants and their German-born progeny. A rom-com with a twist, from a rising talent in queer cinema.