Saturday, April 28, 2007


Gegen die Wand/ Duvara karsi; Drama, Germany/ Turkey, 2004; D: Fatih Akin, S: Birol Ünel, Sibel Kekilli, Cathrin Striebeck

Hamburg. Cahit is a 40-year old German citizen of Turkish roots who is constantly depressive and drunk. One day he deliberately crashes with his car in a wall an lands in a hospital. There he meets a Turkish woman Sibel who also tried to commit suicide, by cutting her vanes. She wants to falsely marry for someone to get away from her conservative family and enjoy in passionate nights with men. Cahit isn't overwhelmed with that plan, but he agrees to do it. They marry and at first he is indifferent that she sleeps with other men, but later on he falls in love with her and in one moment of rage kills a man who called her a slut. He spends a few years in jail, and when finally released he goes to Istanbul where Sibel moved to and got a daughter. There he and Sibel have intercourse for the first time.

Praised ambitious German-Turkish film "Head-On" unfortunately contains all problematic elements of modern European cinema: sterility, pretentiousness, grey mood and monotone tone. Besides that, it's messages are also forced and delivered in a shallow way, and not even the wonderful plot tangle in which Sibel falsely married the drunk Cahit seems convincing - why would she insist to marry only him, and unstable man, and nobody else, even going so far to break a bottle and cut her vanes in front of him in a bar in order to convince him she is serous? On the other hand, the film can't be denied for it's absolutely brilliant performance from Sibel Kekilli, as well as the unusually liberal approach to the story for the Turkish mentality: in the love sequence between Sibel and Cahit towards the end of the film, both actors appeared naked. Of all the themes this good film handled probably the best ended up being the one about the search for identity, about immigrants who are coping with a different culture of the state they are living in, but from the story about two people in false marriage who slowly fall in love with each other a lot, lot more could have been made of.


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