19 March 2008 | gospodinBezkrai
Complex and thought-provoking
"The Edge of Heaven", original title "On the other side", takes up a number of ideas from Faith Akin's previous film. But it takes them also in a new unexpected direction - with a political view (on Kurdish problem, on Europeans), with additional protagonist types - now the conflicted German Turks are joined by 'naive' Germans proper and 'seen-too-much' Turkish (Kurds) proper. All of the characters were very well constructed and, as representative types of their social groups, offered much material for the audience to reflect upon.
Indeed, a knowledgeable audience would find this film to be replete with commentary on our social and political reality, the Anatolian and the European, and on the respective preconceptions and stereotypes. Some of the commentary is tragic, some is ironic. Here, in Bulgaria, the audience laughed and applauded when the German granma said with all her conviction to the Kurdish girl that everything in her country will become alright once they join the EU. On the other hand, an émigré Kurdish audience will probably applaud a very moving and full of suspense depiction of the Kurdish struggle in Turkey, which is however frank both to Kurds and to the Turkish authorities. It included small cameos from the conflict that are for the first time openly publicised: for example, the revolutionaries as they are taken out of their hideout to be arrested by the police, announce their names to the street and the world, in apprehension of being disappeared by the authorities; minutes later the crowd of passer-bys claps to the departing police vans in a popular approval of the suppression of kurdish struggle...
Still, the myriad political and social themes are only a setting to a much more personal story. The opening of one's soul, the crossing of inner walls that separate us from those who love us. This story is repeated three times, in different context, for the three characters who remain alive to cross 'to the other side': the German mother who accepts her daughter's ideals, the German-Turkish son who forgives his father, the Kurdish girl who takes the love of her friends over her revolutionary commitment. However, the director allows no one of them to consume their redemption within the film's running time - their characters remain tragic.
It is a very powerful film. As a friend said after the screening, it tramples over you like a steam-roller. The emotional mix of the previous film "Head-on" had me cry, but crying releases the pain. This one doesn't let to release the tension even at the final scene. It will stay with you for days after.