Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

aka - Auf Der Andere Seite
Germany/Turkey/Italy 2007
Directed by
Fatih Akin
122 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Sharon Hurst
4 stars

The Edge Of Heaven

Synopsis: Ali Aksu (Tuncel Kurtiz) is an old Turkish man living in Bremen in Germany. He befriends a prostitute, Yeter (Nursel Kose), and invites her to live with him. Ali’s son, Nejat (Baki Davrak), is a professor of German and disapproves of his father’s behaviour. Despite this he grows fond of Yeter, and after her accidental death at th e hands of his father he heads to Turkey to search for her daughter Ayten (Nurgul Yesilcay). Ayten is a Turkish political activist who, unbeknowns to Nejat, has fled to Germany, where she forms a relationship with Lotte (Patrycia Ziolkowska), much to the distress of Lotte’s mother Susanne (Hanna Schygulla). As Ayten’s situation worsens and Lotte tries to help, all the lives will be drawn closer together by tragedy.

Being of Turkish ethnicity but born in Germany, Fatih Akin wears his political heart on his sleeve. He is finely attuned to the immigrant experience and the feelings of being torn between two countries and cultures, feelings given particularly poignant symbolic form in the scenes of coffins being loaded onto planes for return to their respective countries. The contrast between life in Germany and in Turkey is well drawn and references to Turkey’s possible inclusion in the EEC abound. Politics aside however, it is the well-crafted story of three interlocking sets of people that is totally fascinating. Only we the audience see the full picture of how they interlink and the sadness is that only we know the tragic role fate plays in thwarting the character’s desires and even destroying their lives.

Family is also a strong theme here, with the troubled relationship between Najat and the father he rejects being at the heart of the narrative. The story of Lotte and her mother is equally sad – with the mother, Susanne, being emotionally ripped apart under her seemingly impassive exterior whilst the broken bond between Yeter and and her daughter, Aytan, which drives Najat’s quest is critical to the film’s conclusion.

Winner of Best Screenplay at Cannes 2007 and Germany's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 2008 Academy Awards, there is something absorbingly compelling in the structure of this film, especially in the way it opens with a scene to which it returns at the conclusion, leaving me to ponder the ineffable sadness in life that leads us to become alienated from one another, personally and in a broader social context. All the actors capture this melancholy so well, with the iconic German actor Hanna Schygulla, whose heart-rending journey as Lotte’s mother is so forcefully portrayed, being of special note.

Edge Of Heaven is beautifully shot and the haunting music adds yet more to an already fine film.




Want more about this film?

search youtube  search wikipedia  

Want something different?

random vintage best worst