• James Rutherford

‘The Edge of Heaven’: A Fervent Turkish-German Tale of Affinity, Discord and Reconciliation


Movie poster for the German film The Edge of Heaven starring Baki Davrak, Nurgül Yesilçay and Tuncel Kurtiz

“The Edge of Heaven” (“Auf Der Anderen Seite”) is an absorbing and emotionally galvanizing Turkish-German film from 2007 that follows several interrelated characters spanning Germany and Turkey, and delivers a striking cross-cultural tale of affinity, discord and reconciliation.


The story begins with an widower named Ali (Tuncel Kurtiz) living in Bremen, Germany arranging for a prostitute named Yeter (Nursel Köse) to become his live-in companion. Ali's son Nejat (Baki Davrak) is forced to intervene after Ali suffers a heart attack, becoming acquainted with Yeter and learning of her estranged daughter Ayten (Nurgül Yesilçay) in Turkey. Ultimately Nejat finds himself on an unexpected journey in search of Ayten, on Yeter’s behalf.


Ayten functions as a fervent member of an anti-government resistance group in Turkey who is forced to abscond to Germany in search of her mother. Homeless and impoverished, Ayten is taken in by a young student named Lotte who becomes her lover and confidante—before police intervention leads to Ayten’s deportation back to Istanbul. A devastated Lotte soon proceeds to Turkey herself in a desperate bid to free her beloved Ayten—an act of blind devotion that carries dire and unforeseen consequences for them both.


Written and directed by Turkish-German auteur Fatih Akin (“Head-On”, “In the Fade”), “The Edge of Heaven” is a intricate and highly affecting journey of discovery, operating best as an eye-opening cross-cultural exposé. Encompassing three distinct yet interweaving narratives, Akin’s film explores themes of morality, spirituality and grace with a deft hand and highly empathetic spirit. Transcending from light-hearted to sordid, tragic to conciliatory, it’s a profound and emotive work from one of the finest young international filmmakers operating today.

 

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