| Writer-director Fatih Akin (“Head-On”) was born in Hamburg of Turkish parentage. He utilizes his background in creating this compelling story that is divided into three parts.
The first two segments involve accidental deaths. The third portion bears the title of the movie where a cleansing form of redemption and reconciliation occurs.
The movie, filmed in Germany and Turkey, brilliantly interweaves six main characters in a border-trotting, gender-bending, culture-clashing drama of surreptitious power and uncommon grace.
There are two sets of mothers and daughters, one of German descent and the other Turkish. There is also a Turkish father and son pairing.
The movie opens in Hamburg with Ali, an elderly, widowed father inviting a middle-aged Turkish prostitute, Yeter, to become his live-in girlfriend much to the dismay of his professorial son Nejat. After bonding with Yeter, Nejat travels to Istanbul and searches for the prostitute’s daughter Ayten in the second segment. The daughter is a political revolutionary who is befriended by Lotte, a German college girl living with a conservative mother. The two women become lovers in a passionate lesbian relationship.
The final piece of the mysterious puzzle involves the German mom Susanne (recognizable art house favorite Hanna Schygulla, who appeared in 23 films directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder) and her daughter’s lover, who is deported and imprisoned in Turkey after her plea for asylum in Germany is denied.
The movie ably captures a world in transition and shows both closeness and the gap between generations. It has an acute understanding of 21st century European politics and sexual identity.
This was the German entry for Best Foreign Language Film at last year’s Academy Awards. It would have been my choice for the golden statuette rather than the eventual winner, “The Counterfeiters” from Austria.
This film won the Best Screenplay award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and won the top four German Film Awards (equivalent of our Oscars) for outstanding feature film, best direction, best screenplay and best editing.
This exceptional movie benefits from great storytelling, superb acting, breathtakingly luscious cinematography and realistic coincidences.
This satisfying cinematic jewel will linger forever in your memory bank.
Partially in German and Turkish with English subtitles. Opening exclusively at the Tivoli.
Keith Cohen, "The Movie Guy"