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The Edge of Heaven

The Edge of Heaven is Akin's first film after the change of government in September 2005 and the rise to power of the CDU coalition government under Chancellor Angela Merkel. The CDU/CSU's emphasis on Germany's occidental, Christian heritage, its striving toward a definition of integration in legal terms, and its attention to concepts of Heimat and belonging are therefore crucial to understanding the political landscape of Akin's changing media reception.

Although the stereotype of the Turkish German filmmaker remains, The Edge of Heaven is portrayed as a "strong plea for a European 'growing together' beyond the Bosphorus" (Borcholte 2007). According to Christian Bufi in Spiegel Online (2007), with The Edge of Heaven, Akin finally moves beyond the genre of the Turkish German migration film and henceforth defines himself as "representative of a globalized cinema" that traverses national borders. It is the question of Heimat that preoccupies Bufi, who describes Akin's protagonists as commuters between the Bosphorus and the Elbe. Heimat in The Edge of Heaven is constructed by each individual somewhere on his/her journey between different places. Bufi therefore ranks Akin among filmmakers such as Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Fernando Mereilles, and Atom Egoyan—filmmakers who highlight and cross the borders of the national and who depict the problems of identity formation in the global age. Akin finally ascends to the inner circle of (European) auteurs. In general, critics of The Edge of Heaven stress the greater sophistication and tranquillity of the film and highlight the differences between Head-On and The Edge of Heaven. The majority focuses more explicitly on Akin's engagement of general human issues such as death, loss, desperation, forgiveness, identity, and parent-child relationships— his alleged Turkish Germanness seems to be of less importance.

It is illuminating to observe the changes in several film critics' categorizations of Akin: Rodek in Welt Online (2007), for example, answers his own question of whether Akin can be counted among German filmmakers by explicitly referring to The Edge of Heaven as a German film. Even though Rodek again places The Edge of Heaven in the Turkish German context, he claims that—unlike in Head-On—Akin creates "a rather normal atmosphere," arguing that what had preoccupied the protagonists of Head- On on their erratic journeys from the Elbe back to the Bosphorus has finally lost its urgency—a line of argument to which I will return with Rodek's discussion of Soul Kitchen.

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