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June 12, 2008

Gegen die Wand: Setting a New Standard for German Cinema

Gegen die Wand (Head-On)
5 out of 5 stars

Provocative, charged and beautiful: Gegen die Wand (Head-On) was the first German film to win the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for 18 years, and rightly so. After a distinct lack of internationally and critically acclaimed cinema coming from German directors since Fassbinder et al., Fatih Akin breaks free from the mould of miserablist 'migrant' cinema to bring us a story about a female German-Turkish protagonist that refuses to revert to stereotype in portraying the complexities of a diasporic German-Turkish identity. In fact, Sibel's background is just that: at the forefront of the film is a wonderful love story. Sibel and Cahit meet in a rehab clinic and, in a desperate bid to escape her controlling father, Sibel asks Cahit to marry her (Why me? I'm a bum! - You're Turkish!). Their life as roommates is far from wedded bliss; as they take their relationship to the next stage, it becomes violent, jealous and passionate, and an event one night leads to their lives taking an entirely different turn. The chemistry between the two characters is superb, and if there is ever a film that makes you want to lift the images off the screen and admire them as wonderfully composed photographs, this is it.

wedding  hotel1  sibel

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