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Edge of Heaven
Edge of Heaven
Actors: Nurgul Yesilcay, Baki Davrak, Tuncel Kurtiz, Hanna Schygulla, Patrycia Ziolkowska
Director: Fatih Akin
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2008     1hr 56min

Fatih Akin, the critically-acclaimed director of HEAD-ON, weaves overlapping tales of friendship and sexuality into a powerful narrative of universal love. Six characters are drawn together by circumstances-an old man and ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Nurgul Yesilcay, Baki Davrak, Tuncel Kurtiz, Hanna Schygulla, Patrycia Ziolkowska
Director: Fatih Akin
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Family Life
Studio: Strand Releasing
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 10/14/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 56min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 14
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English, German
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Some Keen Observations of Parent Child Relationships
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 10/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"THE EDGE OF HEAVEN (AUF DER ANDEREN SEITE) is a superb piece of writing by writer/director Fatih Akin - a study essentially about family fragility and strength as heightened by the immigrant struggles that both bond and divide. It is an intelligent film, well acted, and presented in a challenging manner that defines it as an art film of the first order.

We are given three families to inspect, families whose paths cross not only by coincidence by also by a common 'border' between Germany and Turkey - a division that provides not only tension and emphasis in separation and communication flaws in relationships, but also allows the sensitive cinematographer the opportunity to contrast the dark German portions with the hot light of the Turkish segments.

The film opens innocently enough with a scene where young professor Nejat (Baki Davrak), a Turkish immigrant teaching in Germany, stops for gas - an ordinary event in life that will be recapitulated at movie's close. Nejat's elderly father Ali Aksu (Yuncel Kurtiz) wanders the red light district and encounters a Turkish immigrant hooker Yeter (Nusel Kose) whom he invites to come live with him for the same money that she would make in prostitution. The home setting (Nejat, Ali, Yeter) is flawed and at the moment of dissolution Yeter dies accidentally during an altercation with Ali. Ali is jailed and Nejat feels compelled to go to Istanbul to find and assist Yeter's daughter. Meanwhile Yeter's daughter Ayten (Nurgut Yesilcay) is participating in anti government demonstrations and manages to flee to Germany to find her mother and is befriended by Lotte (Patrycia Ziokowska), a student whose mother Susanne (Hanna Schygulla) disapproves of Lotte's relationship with Ayten. Ayten is forced to flee to Istanbul, Lotte follows and tragedy occurs. In a manner of twists and turns and fast-forwards and reflective moments the three families (Nejat/Ali, Yeter/Ayten, and Susanne/Lotte) intersect, always propelled by the need for acceptance and love and succor.

The levels of interpretation are many and writer/director Fatih Akin serves them well. The superb cinematography is in the masterful hands of Rainer Klausmann and the musical score is enhanced by recordings of a late Turkish artist as integrated by composer Shantel . This is a stunning, fast paced, emotionally involving film filled with pleas of understanding of many problems that daily call for our attention. In Turkish, German an English with subtitles. Grady Harp, October 08"
The Perimeters of Chance
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 08/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The emotional impact of this bleak cinema will not need enhancement, and the "story" is intentionally predictable from about minute 15 to the end. What I want to address is the "intellectual" content, since I think this is a film with fairly explicit intellectual aspirations -- in other words, a movie that makes a statement about life.

Coincidental relationships and chance encounters frame nearly every action/event of this film. Nothing that happens is inevitable or dramatically "necessary", yet everything is contingent on random intersections of people and places that another film-maker might perceive as fateful or predestined. Yet equally possible coincidences and indeed encounters that "we" are set up to expect don't occur as expected. Coincidence is no more powerful than non-coincidence; contingency is awkwardly random in the film-maker's vision of life, and resolution is utterly illusory. Perhaps only a Turk, or another person raised in a culture of religious predeterminism, could offer such insights into the linear inconsequentiality of existence -- "just one d_mn thing after another."

The Edge of Heaven is also a painful depiction of alienation -- the alienation of 'guestworker" Turks in Germany, of political dissidence, and of generational conflict, a father-son and a mother-daughter, the former Turks and the latter Germans. This isn't the core of the movie so much as the substrate in which the character development takes place.

Wonderful acting! Especially from Hanna Schygulla, who plays the German mother so plausibly that you will hardly remember her as the star of German "art" films of yesteryear. Any time an actor/actress is unrecognizable, that's art!

Definitely a movie that you will leave feeling less ebullient than when you arrived; the reward is emotional insight rather than entertainment. It reminded me a good deal of Babel, though it's more modest and perhaps more real. If you appreciated Babel, you will surely relish Edge of Heaven."
This Film Makes Us See w/ New Eyes
Yongsoo Park | Harlem, USA | 12/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Instead of a clunky description of the story, here are two examples of masterful filmmaking from this amazing film.

Example #1: The iconic German actress Hanna Schygulla plays the aged mother of one of the main characters. Her daughter, a German university student with an idealistic streak, brings a Turkish woman whom she has just met, to stay in their house. The daughter wants to help the Turkish woman, who is homeless and an illegal immigrant. The mother seems to project quiet disapproval and warns the daughter about harboring an illegal alien. In this manner, the film makes the viewer think he or she is seeing a contrast between the staid mother and the bohemian rebellious daughter.

Later, however, the film reveals that this staid mother is not who the viewer has come to think she is. In her youth, she was also a free spirit and a bit of a bohemian who hitchhiked to India. She shows herself to be someone so different than who she seemed to be.

Thus, the viewer's very perception is challenged and this character is revealed to be complex and truly human and not the "type" that the viewer has pegged her to be. In other words, the film challenges and undermines the viewers' perception to provide true insight.

Example #2: The opening scene of the film is of a car driving into a gas station in rural Turkey. A man gets out of the car, asks the gas station attendant to fill it up, then goes inside to the little convenience store, where he buys some snacks and exchanges small talk with the shopkeeper about a song that is playing on the radio. The shopkeeper says the singer is from the region but died of cancer due to fallout from Chernobyl that's only revealing itself to the public now. The man pays for his stuff and the scene ends. It's a two-minute scene. No tension. No conflict. No nothing. Completely mundane. Something that could happen to anyone.

Ninety-minutes of the film later, the same scene is replayed in exactly the same form. No changes. But the film has revealed the events that have led up to this man's setting foot in that gas station. It's the same scene. The same two minutes. But now, it's filled with tension, true pathos, and an abundance of meaning.

Again, this is an example where the film shows us something, makes us think we see it, only to reveal that what we think we're seeing is not so. It challenges the expectations and perception of the viewer. It makes us see with new eyes.

Between Germany and Turkey, Lives Cross Paths and Intertwine
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 10/24/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

""The Edge of Heaven" is a literally cross-cultural story that hinges on crossed paths between its German and Turkish characters. Deft handling of complexity and coincidence won writer/director Fatih Akin a host of awards in Europe, including Best Screenplay at Cannes, Best Direction at the German Film Awards, and Best Foreign Film at France's Cesars. Ali Aksu (Tuncel Kurtiz), a retired Turkish immigrant in Germany, invites a prostitute named Yeter (Nusel Kose), also a Turkish immigrant, to live with him. Ali's college professor son Nejat (Baki Davrak) is surprised by the arrangement but fond of Yeter. When Yeter dies, Nejat visits Turkey to find her grown daughter Ayten (Nurgut Yesilcay) with the intention of paying for her education. But Ayten's radical political activity have already compelled her to leave Turkey to seek her mother in Germany.

The film's division into four parts, only the last of which is entirely chronological, creates an interesting symmetry. The two central parts address Ali and Yeter's relationship and Ayten's relationship with a sympathetic German university student named Lotte (Patrycia Ziokowska), respectively. Two couples. But the brief opening sequence feels superfluous, as if it has been added only to balance the end of the film. Apart from that, this oddly structured film seems natural even though it relies heavily on coincidences. Two generations cross paths as well as two cultures: What Ali, Yeter, and Lotte's mother Susanne (Hanna Schygulla) want for their children is slyly compared to what Nejat, Ayten, and Lotte want for themselves. "Edge of Heaven" feels like a carefully crafted European character drama with a welcome helping of grit. In German, Turkish, and English with subtitles.

The DVD (Strand Releasing 2008): Bonus features are a theatrical trailer (1 1/2 min) and a documentary entitled "The Making of The Edge of Heaven" (56 min), which is too long but includes behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with director Fatih Akin. He discusses story, themes, cast, the script, rehearsing, and directing the film. The cast makes some brief appearances. The documentary is in German with English subtitles. The English subtitles for the documentary and for the film cannot be turned off."