edge-of-heaven-nov-20thYeter, a member of the Turkish community in Hamburg and a prostitute, becomes involved with fellow countryman Ali. Finding herself under threat when it is wrongly assumed that she is a Muslim, she moves in with Ali. She dies soon afterwards and a complex series of tangled events takes place in both Germany and Turkey. In this rich and highly sophisticated film, Fatih Akin crafts a very modern observation of the two countries and the contrasts within and between them. (Cert 15)
Dir: Fatih Akin 117 mins Germany/Turkey 2007

Programme Notes

Thursday, 20th November 2008

Germany/Turkey 2007 117 minutes

“The best approach is to begin with the characters, because the wonderful, sad, touching The Edge of Heaven is more about its characters than about its story. There is a reason for that: this is one of those films of interlocking narrative strands, called a hyperlink movie, but the strands never link. True, they link for us, because we possess crucial information about the characters — but they never link for the characters, because they lack that information. I liked it that way.” (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, spot-on, as ever). And the director himself said: “The film is a complex mosaic – difficult to explain in a three minute Spielberg way”. But here’s a warning: watch out for flashbacks.

Akin, born in 1973, a German of Turkish descent, has become a (the?) major force in German filmmaking today. Tonight’s film, the second in a trilogy entitled Love, Death and the Devil, has very credible characters – German Germans, Germans of Turkish ethnicity, and Turkish Turks (one of whom is perhaps a Kurd). The settings are very “real”. But, as Akin said in a film festival interview: “It’s a very spiritual film, because [the] death is connecting every human being” (speaking in English). There are two deaths in the film, each prefigured in the section titles, so he is clearly trying to avoid an excess of melodrama. “What,” he continued, “can we learn from [the] death? What can we use [the] death for in our everyday lives?” When we have seen the film we’ll have an idea of his answers to these questions, assisted by Hanna Schygulla’s remarkable performance. (See the Fatih Akin interview on YouTube). MB

Ayten Öztürk (Gül) – Nurgül Yesilçay
Nejat Aksu – Baki Davrak
Ali Aksu – Tuncel Kurtiz
Susanne Staub – Hanna Schygulla
Charlotte ‘Lotte’ Staub – Patrycia Ziolkowska
Yeter aka Jessy – Nursel Köse
Directed & Written by – Fatih Akin
Cinematographer – Rainer Klaussmann
Editor – Andrew Bird
Art Direction – Seth Turner
Production Design – Sirma Bradley & Tamo Kunz
Original music by – Shantel


“A multi-layered film, skilfully executed. A lot of issues were covered – and not too ‘heavily’. A film to watch or continue to watch.”

“A beautifully constructed film built on the power of life, love and co-incidence.”

“Intelligent, well constructed, thoughtful and moving”

“A dramatic story, beautifully told, acted and filmed”

“Thoroughly absorbing film – beautifully acted”

“(It) gripped the viewer’s interest throughout, (although) the parts where the different characters just miss each other were quite maddening!”

“A well constructed film”

“Well made – I’m not sure (whether) it helped to announce the deaths in advance, though.”

“I enjoyed this film very much – very powerful!”

“Very good, very interesting, very sad”

“Very enjoyable (and) intriguing right from the start. Very unlikely storyline but carried off with aplomb by an excellent cast. Very sad in parts.”

“Lots of great music. Maybe there was a hidden theme (here), given the hostility in Germany towards Turks. From the introduction, I expected it to lack continuity but we could see how the story would end without needing it to be spelt out!”

“Much beautiful, ‘traveloguey’ scenery and convincing characters. Also some insight into the complexities of freedom fighters/terrorists, prisons and asylum seekers.”

“Looked great, with great acting”

“Beautifully photographed”

“Fascinating and beautiful to look at”

“I didn’t want it to end! An utterly fascinating film with so many strands and how good that it wasn’t marred by lack of funds – on the part of the characters, that is. Sorry this is so long!”

“The links were very clever. I guess the circle would be completed eventually or is that in the sequel?”


A:37, B:19, C:2, D:0, E:0 to give 90%