Turkish-German director opens cultural divide
24 May 2007, Cannes, France (dpa) - German-Turkish director Faith Akin's The Edge of Heaven (Auf der Andere Seite), which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, is a movie much like the filmmaker's own story about a generation of immigrants caught between two cultures. "We live in Europe," said Nursel Kose who plays a Turkish prostitute Yeter Ozturk in the film. "I feel like I am half German and half Turkish." "There is a whole generation of us," she said at press conference in Cannes, with Akin's movie hi
24 May 2007
Cannes, France (dpa) - German-Turkish director Faith Akin's The Edge of Heaven (Auf der Andere Seite), which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, is a movie much like the filmmaker's own story about a generation of immigrants caught between two cultures.
"We live in Europe," said Nursel Kose who plays a Turkish prostitute Yeter Ozturk in the film. "I feel like I am half German and half Turkish."
"There is a whole generation of us," she said at press conference in Cannes, with Akin's movie highlighting the sense of conflict that shapes the characters' relationship with their two different worlds.
The Edge of Heaven's main character, Nejat Aksu, who draws the different strands of the film's story together, is a Turkish professor of German literature working in a German university.
To an extent, Nejat played by Baki Davrak, represents that new generation of Turks living in Germany and who have in recent years become more integrated into German society.
"There two parts of me," said Davrak, whose pensioner father in the film, Ali begins living with Yeter.
"I have been born in Germany and I grew up in Germany, and knew Turkey from different visits," Davrak said.
To work in Turkey, he said was like "a journey to a different part of myself," with his character almost constantly on the move, crisscrossing between Turkey and Germany before he finds a new home in a German bookshop in Istanbul.
Indeed, the film ends where it began with Nejat on a journey in Turkey.
In between, Akin also seeks to explore not just the personal struggle involved for people transgressing cultural divides and frontiers but their reactions to death.
The 33-year old Akin sees his film as part of a trilogy about love, death and evil.
Love was portrayed in his critically claimed Head On (Gegen Die Wand), which won the Berlin Film Festival coveted Golden Bear in 2004. He uses death to tell his story in The Edge of Heaven. He is still to make a movie about evil.
"Love is more than about boy-girl," he told the press conference. "It is about humanity and patience," he said. Evil he sees as the same as ignorance, greed, envy. "Death," he said, "is a door in between them both."
After finding herself as "a woman of easy virtue" - the subject of the unwanted attention of pious Muslims, Yeret decides to take up Ali's offer and move into his home. In return he will pay her what she earns as a prostitute
But it is not long before her sense of personal freedom clashes with Ali's more traditional values about the role he expects her to play. "I own you," he shouts at her as their relationship hurtles towards a tragic end.
"Digesting death of a person does not stop at pain, but taking on what they wanted to do," said Hanna Schygulla who plays Susanne Staub, whose daughter enters a doomed relationship with Yeret's daughter, a member of Turkey's political resistance.
As a director, Akin tries to understand all the characters' stories in The Edge of Heaven, and what drives them.
But if the film is flawed, it is because it sometimes feels top heavy with too many stories.
The Edge of Heaven was one of 22 movies competing for the coveted Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) at this year's festival in Cannes.
Success, said Akin has opened considerable opportunities. But at the same time it all brings pressure, he said.
Having your film entered in the main competition in Cannes, he was "like playing against Brazil."
Subject: German news