Melo­drama with a real edge

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film Reviews New Dvds - DON­ALD CLARKE

THE EDGE OF HEAVEN/AUF DER AN­DEREN SEITE Di­rected by Fatih Akin. Star­ring Baki Davrak, Tun­cel Kur­tiz, Nursel Kose, Nurgül Ye­sil­cay, Hanna Schygulla Club, Queen’s, Belfast; IFI, Dublin, 115 min

HEAD-ON, the last dra­matic fea­ture from Fatih Akin, gained quite a fol­low­ing on its re­lease three years ago. The film did a good job of map­ping cer­tain con­nec­tions be­tween Ger­many’s Turk­ish com­mu­nity and the old coun­try, but, to me, it seemed a tad hys­ter­i­cal and im­ma­ture in its cul­tural ref­er­ences.

Akin’s latest pic­ture re­vis­its many of the themes and sit­u­a­tions of Head-On. Once again a tragedy causes a prin­ci­pal char­ac­ter to re­lo­cate from Ger­many to Turkey. As be­fore, the pic­ture sug­gests the type of un­easy ac­com­mo­da­tion that might be reached be­tween su­per­fi­cially in­com­pat­i­ble cul­tures.

The Edge of Heaven is, how­ever, a much more ac­com­plished pic­ture than Head-On. De­spite a daz­zlingly in­tri­cate plot, whose swift shifts of lo­ca­tion might give Robert Lud­lum pause for thought, the pic­ture never seems con­trived or schematic. We are of­fered a de­li­cious soap opera, a grip­ping thriller and an in­ci­sive burst of so­cial com­men­tary.

The var­i­ous plots of The Edge of Heaven – does that English­language ti­tle nod to­wards Douglas Sirk’s su­per-soap All That Heaven Al­lows? – are kicked off by the pe­cu­liar de­ci­sion of Ali (Tun­cel Kur­tiz), an el­derly Turk­ish im­mi­grant, to hire a lo­cal pros­ti­tute as a sort of maid-cum-con­sort.

Dur­ing an ar­gu­ment, Ali causes the wo­man’s death and is sent to prison. La­tent guilt spurs Ne­jat (Baki Davrak), the old man’s son, to head for Is­tan­bul to track down the dead wo­man’s daugh­ter.

It tran­spires that the girl, Ayten (Nur­gul Ye­sil­cay), is a po­lit­i­cal rad­i­cal who, fol­low­ing her in­volve­ment in a vi­o­lent dis­tur­bance, has been forced to flee to Ger­many. While Ne­jat pads around Is­tan­bul look­ing for Ayten, she spends her days try­ing to find the mother she be­lieves works in a Bre­men shoe shop. Even­tu­ally she meets a young Ger­man girl (Pa­trycia Zi­olkowska), and they em­bark on a ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship. More tragedies are to fol­low.

As you may have gath­ered, there is a lot go­ing on in The Edge of Heaven. But Akin is a very or­gan­ised sto­ry­teller and, nim­ble on his feet, he never daw­dles long enough to en­cour­age au­di­ences to ques­tion the ac­cu­mu­lat­ing co­in­ci­dences.

Buoyed up by con­sis­tently strong per­for­mances and graced with slick pro­duc­tion val­ues, the film con­firms the con­fi­dent ad­vance of mod­ern Ger­man cin­ema.

Cul­tural ex­change: Nurgül Ye­silçay and Pa­trycia Zi­olkowska in The Edge of Heaven

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.