The Edge of Heaven

"OK"

The Edge of Heaven Review


Head-On director Fatih Akin turns his focus from the intimacy of a botched marriage of convenience between a lapsed conservative Muslim and a hard-drinking Turk in his previous film to The Edge of Heaven, a globetrotting human-rights drama about deported Turkish renegades and the lesbians and bookshop owners who love them.

Awarded the Cannes prize for screenwriting at last year's ceremonies, Akin's new world is sparked by a moral dilemma that plagued his lost Muslim girl in Head-On. Yeter (Nursel Köse), "Jessy" to her johns, is a faithful Muslim despite her prostitute day job. The local fundamentalists bully her on the bus and stare daggers at her on the boulevard. After a few times servicing Ali (Tuncel Kurtiz), an elderly customer, she's asked to come and live with him as a roommate and periodic sex slave. Köse's face, fitted with age and a wincing grief, becomes a hardened casket when she's with Ali but melts into tender matriarchy when she's introduced to Nejat (the great Baki Davrak), Ali's German-language professor son.

The tenderness she shows Nejat accounts for the professor's unshakable diligence in finding her lost daughter when Yeter dies unexpectedly. The young professor makes his way to Turkey and buys a German bookstore, hanging flyers and other such public displays in the hope of finding Yeter's daughter. Little does he know that her daughter Gül (Nurgül Yesilçay, an actress who can play sexy and self-serious within the same note) has just made her way to Germany after escaping a group of Turkish radicals. She makes her way to a university and falls into the bed of a Spanish-English major named Charlotte (Patrycia Ziolkowska). A scene where they share a joint drag is one of Akin's most erotic shots to date.

Gül is found during a routine pull-over and sent back to Turkey with Charlotte hot on her tracks, much to the chagrin of Charlotte's mother (Hanna Schygulla). Charlotte befalls a tragedy right as she begins renting a room from Nejat, causing the mother to come in contact with the professor... and around and around we go. Certainly, the crossed wires of this we-are-all-connected melodrama are more intriguing and engaging than the this-is-racism pandering of Crash and Babel, but the content comes off as light. Nejat's quoting of Goethe's challenging thoughts on revolution points rather blatantly to the pains of Gül's revolt.

The intersections are nicely played but the reasoning behind them seems near-empty. Blessed with a first-rate cast, Akin's ability to keep interest is exercised to great ends but his attempts at wringing intimacy out of this broad palette would seem to be a fool's charge. The Edge of Heaven flirts with close-to-the-vest perceptions of culture, sexuality, and identity but never indulges in them. Emotions remain on the sleeve, as does history.

Aka Auf der anderen Seite.



The Edge of Heaven

Facts and Figures

Run time: 116 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 27th September 2007

Box Office USA: $0.6M

Budget: $3.8M

Distributed by: Strand

Production compaines: Corazón International, Anka Film

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Fresh: 67 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 7.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Klaus Maeck, Andreas Thiel, Jeanette Wurl

Starring: Nurgül Yeşilçay as Ayten Öztürk, Baki Davrak as Nejat Aksu, Tuncel Kurtiz as Ali Aksu, as Susanne Staub, Patrycia Ziolkowska as Lotte Staub, Nursel Köse as Yeter, Yelda Reynaud as Emine

Also starring:

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