(out of 5)
A Turkish family from a tiny village are swept away by dreams of prosperity in Europe and decide to make the perilous journey towards a “better life”. A married couple with five children, they decide to go it alone and leave their brood in the care of their parents, but then at the last minute take their youngest son with them to Switzerland where they hope to become prosperous. Taking their son, however, causes no small amount of complications to their plans, forcing them to make their immigration more illegal than originally intended but also putting them at the mercy of those who would take advantage of them. What makes Xavier Koller’s Academy Award-winning film such a masterpiece, however, is that he tells an incredibly tragic story with his gloom-meter under control; the film is full of treachery and evil, but there’s also humanity, kindness and humour, all of it emerging spontaneously and naturally thanks to superb direction and outstanding performances. It’s one of the most moving films you’ll ever see, a precursor to a whole series of films that examine the Turkish immigrant experience in Germanic Europe that would be made in the years to come.
Antea Cinematografica, Catpics, Channel Four Films, Cinerent Filmequipment Service AG, Cineverde, Condor Films, Dewe Hellthaler, Département Fédéral de l’Intérieur, Eurimages, Schweizer Fernsehen, Schweizerische Radio- und Fernsehgesellschaft, Télévision Suisse-Romande
Directed by Xavier Koller
Screenplay by Xavier Koller, Feride Cicekoglu
Cinematography by Elemer Ragalyi
Production Design by Kathrin Brunner
Costume Design by Grazia Colombini