GEGEN DIE WAND (2003)

Director Fatih Akin came to international attention with this tragicomic story of the intense, obsessional love affair between two Turkish-Germans living in Hamburg.

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Film details

Alternative titles

  • HEAD-ON Alternative

Introduction

“Akin’s commitment to his characters is uncompromising, as is his humanity, which makes a mockery of the politically correct pieties that often plague stories about cultural outsiders.”
Manohla Dargis, The New York Times, 2005

Fatih Akin was virtually unknown outside Germany when this electrifying drama won the Golden Bear at the Berlin film festival in 2004, before being named Best Film at the 2004 European Film Awards.

Sibel (Sibel Kekilli), who lives with her strict Muslim parents – first-generation immigrants from Turkey – propositions Cahit (Birol Unel), an alcoholic deadbeat 20 years her senior, in order to escape from her family. It is the ultimate marriage of convenience, yet they fall in love.

At first sight, Head-On belongs in a tradition of socially committed films about the plight of immigrant workers, but its potent cocktail of violence, anger, humour and passion, and a dynamic soundtrack that blends hard rock and traditional Turkish music (Akin is a former DJ), keep it well away from genre clichés and predictable sermonising.

R.W. Fassbinder’s Fear Eats the Soul (1974) previously depicted the immigrant community in Germany. Akin’s follow-up The Edge of Heaven (2007) explored the links between Germany’s Turkish community and the old country.

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