The Edge of Heaven (15)
Friday 22 February 2008
Fatih Akin, whose Head-On (2004) is one of the great films of the decade, returns to scour the same vexed ground of exile and migration in The Edge of Heaven. His obsession with the relationship between Germany and Turkey (his roots lie in both) is becoming as intense as Sam Peckinpah's with the US and Mexico, only with less blood and whisky.
Like Head-On, this plays out a love story that crosses and recrosses the divide between two countries still coming to terms with their reactionary nationalist identities. Two separate but mirrored plots are set in motion when an old lecher named Ali (Tuncel Kurtiz) invites a prostitute, Yeter (Nursel Kose), to move in to his Bremen home. When his son Nejat (Baki Davrak), a university lecturer in Hamburg, comes to stay, Ali suspects him of messing around with Yeter and, in a fit of rage, he accidentally kills her.
With the old man in prison, Nejat goes off to find Yeter's daughter Ayten (Nurgul Yesilcay), estranged from her mother for years. The film then puts this story on hold and takes up with Ayten, a student revolutionary in Istanbul who escapes from the authorities by crossing into Germany, where she begins searching for her mother (she believes she works in a shoe shop) in Hamburg. Here she meets Lotte (Patrycia Ziolkowska), who invites her to stay at her mother's place.
It sounds more complicated than it plays. Writer-director Akin juggles with different kinds of conflict – familial, political, religious – yet forbears to make the kind of judgments one might expect. On religion, for example, it is never clear-cut about its place in society, so while two Muslim men harass a woman on a bus for "immoral" behaviour, a later scene shows, almost reverently, men walking to the mosque.
In casting Hanna Schygulla, one of Fassbinder's favourites, as Lotte's mother, one anticipates a corresponding line on the sick soul of modern Germany, yet Akin steers the mood deliberately towards forgiveness and reconciliation.
musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Salisbury ranked seventh-best city in the world to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015
- 2 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 3 Banksy has not been arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Disney announces new female-led film Moana
Eight seconds of white noise is top of the Canadian iTunes chart because people love Taylor Swift that much
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt is intriguing as unsympathetic war hero
American Horror Story season 4, Fox - TV review: Sensitive, silly and sensational
Peep Show series 9: Final season to air on Channel 4 in 2015
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella