Sunday, June 15, 2008
The Edge of Heaven (Auf der anderen Seite)
As the opening night film at the 13th annual Berlin and Beyond Film Festival earlier this year, and as German's entry for last year's Oscar contest, "The Edge of Heaven" ("Auf der anderen Seite," Germany 2007, 122 min.) returns to Frameline 32 later this month.
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.
I am not surprised that the film won the best screenplay award at last 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.
This is one of the most superb films at Frameline 32.
Labels: Frameline 2008