Edge Of Heaven (Auf Der Anderen Seite)

Written and Directed by Fatih Akin
Screening at FACT from 22nd February 2008

Reviewed by John Owen

A beautiful tale is woven together seamlessly, timeless, throbbing with love, life, leaving, longing, separation and ultimately death.

Set in modern Germany, the heart of Europe, the life of the large Turkish community is told in this tableau concerning the fate of a prostitute and the activist daughter she left behind. The colours, sounds and visions of human life are depicted so remarkably. I felt instantly connected to the characters.

A professor of German philosophy - himself of Turkish origin - drones on to bored students in Hamburg about 18th/19th century writer Goethe being counter-revolutionary, meanwhile on the streets, the activists celebrate May Day. The scene cuts to scenes of police arrests and the treatment of people in the hands of police states.

People, separated by mindless borders, languages and police bureaucracy where miles of red tape abounds. Comrades in the struggle of radical activism lift the veil on the underbelly of Europe’s partner and Nato ally.

The young fight for education as a human right with ‘Öcalan’, ‘Kurdish independence’ and ‘proletarians of the world unite’ slogans. The theme of globalisation and neo-colonial attitudes is bubbling beneath the surface.

I came away more of a human being than when I entered, like Zihan (life) - a film shown by the Turkish community in Liverpool - we glimpsed the edge of darkness but also the tip of heaven too.

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