The Edge of HeavenSeptember 27, 2007
A Turkish man travels to Istanbul to find the daughter of his father's former girlfriend.
Release Year: 2007
Rating: 7.9/10 (13,752 voted)
Critic's Score: 85/100
Stars: Nurgül Yesilçay, Baki Davrak, Tuncel Kurtiz
Nejat seems disapproving about his widower father Ali's choice of prostitute Yeter for a live-in girlfriend. But he grows fond of her when he discovers she sends money home to Turkey for her daughter's university studies. Yeter's sudden death distances father and son. Nejat travels to Istanbul to search for Yeter's daughter Ayten. Political activist Ayten has fled the Turkish police and is already in Germany. She is befriended by a young woman, Lotte, who invites rebellious Ayten to stay in her home, a gesture not particularly pleasing to her conservative mother Susanne. When Ayten is arrested and her asylum plea is denied, she is deported and imprisoned in Turkey. Lotte travels to Turkey,where she gets caught up in the seemingly hopeless situation of freeing Ayten.
Ayten 'Gül' Öztürk
Charlotte 'Lotte' Staub
Plainclothes Policeman May 1
Old woman in Camburnu
Gas station owner
Release Date: 27 September 2007
Filming Locations: Bremen, Germany
Opening Weekend: $18,593
(25 May 2008)
(12 October 2008)
Did You Know?
A whole subplot of Baki Davrak's character meeting an old flame and rekindling their romance was excised as it slowed the film down.
In the film, the year is 2006 and it is the Festival of Sacrifices (Kurban Bayrami), a religious holiday. Everybody is in summer clothes and many of them are sweating. The Festival of Sacrifices in 2006 in Turkey was in winter, at the end of December.
After telling the story of Abraham that was willing to sacrifice his son, Ismael, to show God his obedience. Before Abraham could slay his son God sent a lamb to sacrifice instead.
I asked my dad if he would have sacrificed me as well.
And what did he say?
That he would even make an enemy of God to protect me.
Complex and thought-provoking
"The Edge of Heaven", original title "On the other side", takes up a
number of ideas from Faith Akin's previous film. But it takes them also
in a new unexpected direction – with a political view (on Kurdish
problem, on Europeans), with additional protagonist types – now the
conflicted German Turks are joined by 'naive' Germans proper and
'seen-too-much' Turkish (Kurds) proper. All of the characters were very
well constructed and, as representative types of their social groups,
offered much material for the audience to reflect upon.
Indeed, a knowledgeable audience would find this film to be replete
with commentary on our social and political reality, the Anatolian and
the European, and on the respective preconceptions and stereotypes.
Some of the commentary is tragic, some is ironic. Here, in Bulgaria,
the audience laughed and applauded when the German granma said with all
her conviction to the Kurdish girl that everything in her country will
become alright once they join the EU. On the other hand, an émigré
Kurdish audience will probably applaud a very moving and full of
suspense depiction of the Kurdish struggle in Turkey, which is however
frank both to Kurds and to the Turkish authorities. It included small
cameos from the conflict that are for the first time openly publicised:
for example, the revolutionaries as they are taken out of their hideout
to be arrested by the police, announce their names to the street and
the world, in apprehension of being disappeared by the authorities;
minutes later the crowd of passer-bys claps to the departing police
vans in a popular approval of the suppression of kurdish struggle…
Still, the myriad political and social themes are only a setting to a
much more personal story. The opening of one's soul, the crossing of
inner walls that separate us from those who love us. This story is
repeated three times, in different context, for the three characters
who remain alive to cross 'to the other side': the German mother who
accepts her daughter's ideals, the German-Turkish son who forgives his
father, the Kurdish girl who takes the love of her friends over her
revolutionary commitment. However, the director allows no one of them
to consume their redemption within the film's running time – their
characters remain tragic.
It is a very powerful film. As a friend said after the screening, it
tramples over you like a steam-roller. The emotional mix of the
previous film "Head-on" had me cry, but crying releases the pain. This
one doesn't let to release the tension even at the final scene. It will
stay with you for days after.