Bitter Sweet (Didem Sahin) Turkey

Bitter Sweet
Didem Sahin
Turkey. 2021. 52 min

Nermin moves to Germany with her 3 daughters in 1963. She works as a tailor in factories and a chief cook for years. Despite the difficulties of a single mother and an immigrant she struggles to exist and build a future for her daughters.
Her biggest daughter Sevim has been chosen as Miss. Turkey in a beauty competition and settles in Istanbul. Her middle daughter Serap works as an accountant in big fruit market leaving two sons behind after her death due to cancer. Her little daughter Sevtap lives alone in Stuttgart. She sees a long-lasting psychological treatment because of depression.

Nermin is 83 now, diagnosed with Alzheimer disease and staying nursing home in Stuttgart. Nermin’s daughters visit her every day. They searching for ways to rebuild the memories of their mother. They transform her nursing home into a memory room with the goods that Nermin brought from her house. They plan to go to their first home in Germany, talk with her ex-neighbors and make them tell their memories related with their mother and shoot all of it with their mobiles and show Nermin.

Didem decides to follow the footprints of her. She takes a train from Istanbul to Germany just like Nermin did – and other Turkish migrants in 1960’smeets with her family in Stuttgart and keep shooting. The whole family – from first generation to fourth generation – celebrate the new year together.


Director & Producer based in Istanbul, Turkey. She was born in Germany. After graduated from the TV and Cinema Department of the Marmara University, Istanbul, she went on to continue her studies in UK, where she completed a scenario education at Birkbeck University and MA in Documentary at the Brunel University in London.

Her first documentary “Don’t Tell My Mother That I’m Going to Beirut” (2007) awarded as the Best Turkish Documentary Film by SIYAD (Cinema Writers Association) and screened at many film festivals. Since then, she has been producing and directing documentaries. Dîdem Sahin was chosen as a director for “Berlinale Talent Campus” in 2010. She used to work for Habertürk TV for 3 years in Istanbul.
One of her documentaries ‘My Ali Sami Yen’ (2011) awarded as the Best TV Documentary Film in FICTS International Sport Film Festival and it was screened at Milano Sport Movies & TV Film Festival, 48th Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival which is most prestigious festival in Turkey.


Turkmens, Documentary, Director, 2018
The Camp, Documentary, Director, 2016
The Tournament, Documentary, Director, 2016
The Shadow of Ebola, Documentary, Director & Producer, 2015
Brikama, Documentary, Director & Producer, 2014
Gamze Bulut, Documentary, Director & Producer, 2014
No Sochi!, Documentary, Director & Producer, 2013
My Ali Sami Yen, Documentary, Director & Producer, 2011
Lady Mukhtar, Documentary, Director & Producer, 2009
Don’t Tell My Mum That I Am Going to Beirut, Doc. Director & Producer, 2007


My grandmother Nermin is the first generation of Turkish migrant in Germany. So, I was born as a daughter of a laborer family in Dortmund. When my mum and I moved to Turkey I was 4 years old. But Germany and immigration have always been a matter of fact in my life. Bitter Sweet is the story of Nermin who is the strongest women I have ever met in my life. On the other hand, it is an “immigration” story of a young woman who doesn’t even know how to read and write, goes to a country which she is stranger to its language and culture in order to create a future for her children.

I believe “immigrants” free from which nation they belong to actually is a class, a nation by their own. There are shared values, behavior patterns and productions belonging to immigrants. The songs talking about homesickness are different in every language but the emotion is same and shared. Bitter Sweet tells a universal story in this manner. The notion of immigration has been argued a lot but it is not known much what is happening to these migrants after working in the hardest jobs with minimum wages being subject to exploitation and oppression? If they haven’t yet died from cancer or other disease, they get old and die with longing for their homeland. Their memories also disappear with them which are also the history of humankind itself. The history books don’t mention these. This documentary is important because it is the truth of our world. The wars are still on today, there is this humanity surrounded by poverty, violence and future anxiety force them to escape from their homeland to live.