NewsBlaze search box Daily News header

The Edge of Heaven (Auf der Anderen Seite) Film Review

By     get stories by email

Cross-Cultural Melodrama Explores Turkish Immigrants' Adjustment to Germany

In 2004, Fatih Akin's Head-On brilliantly brought to light the challenges faced by Turks trying to assimilate into German culture. That female empowerment flick revolved around a free-spirited young woman's desperate attempt to escape her orthodox Muslim family's pressure to abide by traditional Islamic principles at a time when she was eager to Westernize and integrate into mainstream society.

Now director Akin, who is himself of Turkish-German extraction, has crafted another thought-provoking masterpiece exploring the same theme but almost in reverse. For this go-round he has his protagonists venturing back and forth between Deutschland and Turkey, almost as if they are undecided about exactly in which country they belong.

The picture is called The Edge of Heaven, although its German name, Auf der Anderen Seite, is actually more appropriate since that translates to "on the other side." The movie is a character-driven ensemble piece which grows out of the ill-fated relationship of convenience entered into between Ali (Tuncel Kurtiz), a senior citizen on a fixed income, and Yeter (Nursel Kose), a prostitute working in Bremen's red light district.

At the point of departure, he's just one of her many clients. But the two Turkish immigrants strike an unusual bargain whereby she moves into his apartment and promises to give up hooking on the condition that he pay her a salary equal to what she was making as a streetwalker.

It doesn't take long for the plot to thicken after prideful Ali suspects Yeter of cheating on him and kills her in a jealous rage. First, he's convicted of murder and disowned by his son, Nejat (Baki Davrak), a college professor. Then Nejat decides to provide for Yeter's long-lost, suddenly-orphaned daughter, Ayten (Nurgul Yesilcay), presumably left behind in Istanbul.

So, he moves to Turkey unaware that the she's already in Germany and seeking political asylum as a dissident. Not to worry. Ayten is soon denied that request and summarily deported and imprisoned in Istanbul. She is followed there by Lotte (Patrycia Ziolkowska), a lipstick lesbian determined to spring her life partner from the slammer.

But before she even gets a chance to approach the authorities, she's shot to death while walking through the slums by a couple of pint-sized, child muggers with a pistol. The loss inspires grieving Suzanne (Hanna Schygulla) to retrace her daughter's footsteps which lead to a fortuitous meeting with Ayten. What a dizzying series of events!

With the circle completed, all that's left for this modern morality play to do is deliver the heartwarming universal message that perhaps you can teach an old dog new tricks afterall, especially if they have to do with forgiveness and tolerance.

Excellent (4 stars)
In German, Turkish and English with subtitles.
Running time: 116 minutes
Studio: Strand Releasing

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Prairie Miller talks to Elizabeth Hurley about The Royals, and to Nina Paley, artist, filmmaker, animator, cartoonist and free culture copyright activist.
Created by Sir James Matthew Barrie, Peter Pan was first produced as a play in 1904 and adapted into an illustrated novel seven years thereafter. The enchanting fairy tale made its screen debut as a silent movie in 1924, with assorted remakes, seque
Where to Invade Next hops from one topic to another, never lets the audience know what it's about and, after two hours of cinematic navel gazing, it's unlikely they care.
Prairie Miller has a Halloween Visitation. Cult Horror Director Sam Raimi drops in, Death Of A Salesman In Yiddish and classical concert pianist Hannah Reimann
Bond is back, possibly Daniel Craig's last outing. Can SPECTRE step out of the shadow cast by SKYFALL's great acclaim. Read Kingsley's review to find out!
This race hate documentary chronicles neo-Nazi relocation to Leith, a small town in North Dakota, and what the locals did to get rid of the supremacists.


NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month

Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

Copyright © 2004-2015 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site