“Rheingold” is a biographical film of German rapper Xatar, directed by Fatih Akin. It’s an adaptation of Xatar’s 2015 autobiography “All Or Nothing.” The story is about the Kurdish rapper, his struggles, and how he was also the record label boss and a person who had some time in prison, named Giwar Hajabi or Xatar. A film develops further when the breathless narrative settles, and Emilio Sakraya’s enticing performance serves as its centerpiece.
Giwar, which means “born in suffering,” was born in a cave packed with bats in a village in northern Iran to Kurdish parents, the father was a composer. But Western music was banned by Khomeini’s fatwa, and Giwar’s parents had to flee for Paris to survive. They eventually joined the Kurdish resistance and were taken prisoner before escaping to Paris with the assistance of the Red Cross. The very first memory of Giwar was of prison, where his father was regularly tortured for being suspected of being one of Khomeini’s people. This was set in the narrative of the film, where Giwar is born out of suffering and tries to make a living in Europe as a refugee.
The film starts with Giwar and his three associates being taken to a jail in Syria, where they are questioned regarding a lost gold stockpile. Giwar is tormented but claims to be unaware of the gold’s existence. He had a gold-plated tooth, which was taken away from him as a punishment for not answering the police. From the prison of Syria, we are transported to the life of Giwar, how he was born, and all of that in a blink of an eye. The film borrows its name from Wagner’s Ring Cycle, which refers to a fabled stream of gold that, if gained, could grant its owner immortality.
Giwar’s father, Eghbal, was highly inspired by the works of Wagner and took his Khurd family to Germany after the persecution by the Iranians and then the Iraqis. Eghbal wanted his son Giwar to be a musician, too, and got him admission for piano lessons. Giwar’s mother had to clean the piano teacher’s house to pay for his lessons, and he was not interested in piano because their father left them after becoming a popular composer in Germany. From there, Giwar’s life took a massive jump; he went to the streets and looked for ways to earn money. At first, he tried to sell pornographic films in school, which got him expelled and put him in the juvenile detention center. Later on, he shifted his ways to sell hash on the streets, which got him beaten by other gangs. In order to get back at the gang, he learned self-defense from a boxer and almost beat the life out of the boys.
At the same time, he took an interest in rap music, but that was temporary. He called himself Xatar, went to Holland to study the music business, and wanted to start his own record label. But he got into a lot of mishaps as the criminal path took him from an Amsterdam bouncer to a cocaine dealer, all the while operating in a setting where the evil people seemed to get their thoughts from Raymond Chandler. While being a drug dealer, he wanted to havehis own independent record label, but he stayed faithful and loyal to his mother and had a romantic fling with a former neighbor of his, Shirin (Sogol Faghani), from Bonn, Germany, who was pursuing a career in medicine. While he had to sell drugs on behalf of a Middle Eastern old man in order to run his own label, he borrowed the money from, in the form of selling cocaine, but he lost the drugs accidentally. To compensate for the lost drugs, Giwar had to steal gold and pull off the heist, which got him in a Syrian prison.
What Does The End Of The Film Signify?
The members associated with the heist were captured as they were the most wanted men in Germany. Germany had notified all the countries for extradition, and they finally ended up in a Syrian prison where they were tortured relentlessly for the information about the gold, but they would not give it up at any cost. They all got punishment under German law, and Giwar got jail imprisonment for eight years. When his father visited him at the prison, all he could say to Giwar was that it was a peaceful time when he could compose music, and those could be his best compositions. His father also told him how everyone in his family was having difficulty getting jobs and living their social lives because of how Giwar acted.
While in prison, Giwar started composing rap, which reflected his struggles; it included the stories of the days of the prison back under Khomeini’s rule to the days of the prison. Giwar had no idea how his record had impacted the masses until one day, one of the guards came for his signature on the cover of a CD named Xatar 415. The next sequence is a jump to the present day, where Giwar’s daughter was asking about his criminal past and how the students teased her in school. When his daughter asks him the million-dollar question of where the gold is, the film ends with an explanation of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, with the gold lying under some river stream protected by mermaids all around it. The film is a mixture of coming-of-age drama, a heist thriller, and the story of the birth of a star rapper.