Sunday, December 30, 2007


The Edge of Heaven (Auf der anderen Seite)

The 13th annual Berlin and Beyond Film Festival will open with "The Edge of Heaven" ("Auf der anderen Seite," Germany 2007, 122 min.) on January 10, 2008 at the Castro Theatre.

The Edge of Heaven (Auf der anderen Seite)

Superbly written and directed by Turkish German director Fatih Akın, "The Edge of Heaven" tells a compelling story about love, hope, loss, grief, and forgiveness.

Turkish immigrant Nejat teaches at a German university and lives with his widower father Ali. Ali meets a Turkish born prostitute Yeter and invites her to move in with them. Yeter supports her daughter Ayten who studies in Turkey by sending back money to her. A series of events send Nejat to Turkey searching for Yeter's daughter Ayten, while Ayten comes to Germany searching for her mother Yeter. Ayten finds help from a German student Lotte and falls in love with her while Nejat's search continues.

These characters constantly come across each other's lives without knowing it. They keep up their hopes and dreams, deal with their losses and grief, and search for reconciliation and forgiveness.

This film is precisely and efficiently constructed. Its storytelling is amazingly effective. One of my favorite scenes is when a coffin in and out a Turkish Airline airplane. It carries tremendous amount of emotion without a single word.

The Edge of Heaven (Auf der anderen Seite)

I am not surprised that the film won the best screenplay award at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Some film writers seem lazy to me when they take shortcuts with their plots. For example, they arrange their characters to run into each other in a crowd of thousands of people, or on a street in a city like New York or Paris. That doesn't happen in this film. Quite contrary, characters in this film seem always miss each other. There are so many moments that they could have solved the puzzle, but with one small simple mishap, they miss again.

"The Edge of Heaven" is German's entry for this year's Oscar contest.

With more than 35 films from Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, the 13th annual Berlin and Beyond Film Festival runs January 10-16, 2008 at Castro Theatre and Goethe-Institut in San Francisco.


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