Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. Germany/Turkey, 2004. Arte, Bavaria Film International, Corazón International, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Panfilm, Wüste Film. Screenplay by Fatih Akin. Cinematography by Rainer Klausmann. Produced by Andreas Schreitmuller, Stefan Schubert, Ralph Schwingel, Jeanette Wurl. Music by Alexander Hacke, Maceo Parker. Production Design by Tamo Kunz. Costume Design by Katrin Aschendorf. Film Editing by Andrew Bird.
The experiences of Turkish immigrants living in Germany has been the subject of a few films in recent years, but none have been quite as memorable, powerful or vivid as this brilliant movie by Fatih Akin. Birol Ünel is marvelous as Cahit, a German Turk who is on a downward spiral of depression and lands himself in a clinic after a suicide attempt. There he meets young Sibel (a fantastic Sibel Kekilli), a Turkish girl who just wants to party non-stop and enjoy lots of sex with young men, but whose religiously conservative Muslim family keeps her so tightly pent up that she has tried the suicide route as well. She meets Cahit and begs him to marry her, promising that she won’t be any more than a good roommate and won’t require anything of him beyond the nuptials. From there begins a fascinating journey into the consequences of misogyny and religious fanaticism, repressing this young woman so much and for so long that it eventually endangers her life. Akin’s direction is spot-on, maintaining the flow of the story and the intensity of the characters throughout, and the beautiful soundtrack (a clever combination of raucous punk and traditional Turkish) accentuates every turn that the plot takes. A European classic for the new millennium, and one of the very best films of its year.