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Neither Fish, Nor Fowl (2002)

Nicht Fisch, nicht Fleisch (original title)
Adopted as a baby in Korea and raised in a provincial German town, Michael has two identities. Unable to look in the mirror without feeling the hole in his history, he longs to know and be ... See full summary »


Matthias Keilich
3 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Ill-Young Kim Ill-Young Kim ... Michael
Ju Youn Kim Ju Youn Kim ... Jin Hi
Lisa Kreuzer ... Renate
Christian Steyer ... Fred
Jürgen Lehmann Jürgen Lehmann ... Linus
Sun-Chai Chung Sun-Chai Chung ... Master Koo
Adina Vetter Adina Vetter ... Kris
Jong-Gill Asathal Jong-Gill Asathal ... Park-Dal Bong
Hyun-Ja Ruschmann Hyun-Ja Ruschmann ... Mi Rah
Young-Hu Kim Young-Hu Kim ... Won
Heesook Sohn Heesook Sohn ... Heesook
Kwang-jin Park Kwang-jin Park ... HoJung
Ho-ik Lee Ho-ik Lee ... Michael,4 Jahre
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Adam Sikora Adam Sikora ... nörgelnder Kozertgast


Adopted as a baby in Korea and raised in a provincial German town, Michael has two identities. Unable to look in the mirror without feeling the hole in his history, he longs to know and be assured of his own identity. When his adoptive parents divorce, Michael feels lost and runs to his best friend in Berlin. But it's a new confrontational friendship with beautiful Jin Hi that forces him to re-examine himself. In Berlin's Korean community Michael is "neither fish nor fowl", a Korean-German with no knowledge of Korean language and tradition. Trapped between two cultures, Michael's realization that he's a stranger in his own home stirs him to question what it is that defines oneself. Underscored by stark photography, luminous performances, and a deeply echoing script, Neither Fish Nor Fowl transforms the terrain of self-awareness into a strange, lonely, and desperately universal story. Written by Dreamtool Entertainment

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Release Date:

27 June 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ani ryba, ani rak See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Tackles sensitive issue of Korean adaption children.
29 March 2004 | by pjhaasSee all my reviews

This bilingual movie (German and Korean) tackles the issue of Korean adoption children. Michael (Ill-Young Kim) is raised by his German adoption parents in a small German village. His physical appearance is Korean, for the rest he is 100% German and seems to live a happy life, he plays in a local band. His life starts falling apart when his best friend (one of the band members) moves to big city Berlin and his German parents end up in divorce. On the spur of the moment he 'borrows' his father VW and drives to Berlin to join his friend. In Berlin he starts noticing Korean restaurants and he starts to become curious about his heritage. He walks into a Korean restaurant and falls in love with the daughter of the owner. Conflicts soon arise when he tries to become her boyfriend. Michael does not understand Korean culture and - even though he is 'Korean' - he is not accepted by her family. This movie is a black comedy, but it's a lot more fun if you know a little about Korean culture!! Adoption children are a sensitive issue in Korea. Family is the most important social tie, and the fact that so many Korean children are given up for overseas adoption is a major embarrassment for Koreans. Yet, it's still a reality, which is mind boggling, for Korea is a very rich country. Ironically, it is the importance of family which has caused the large number of adoptions. If you get pregnant, but your boyfriend does not want to get married, adoption is the only option. Being a single mother is near to impossible in Korea. If you are interested in the issue of intercultural adoption or Korea in general, this movie (originally made for television) is well worth watching. Ill-Young Kim plays a strong lead roll and you can't help feeling sympathy for him. The end has been criticized, because it seems so unlikely. Did anybody try kissing on the street in Korea? I don't think so... I would have preferred an unhappy end...but hey, I'm Dutch... The title is only half correct, because he seems to be fully accepted by Germans, but not by Koreans. Painful indeed.

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