The Edge of Heaven

September 27th, 2007


The Edge of Heaven

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A Turkish man travels to Istanbul to find the daughter of his father's former girlfriend.

Release Year: 2007

Rating: 7.9/10 (13,752 voted)

Critic's Score: 85/100

Director: Fatih Akin

Stars: Nurgül Yesilçay, Baki Davrak, Tuncel Kurtiz

Nejat seems disapproving about his widower father Ali's choice of prostitute Yeter for a live-in girlfriend. But he grows fond of her when he discovers she sends money home to Turkey for her daughter's university studies. Yeter's sudden death distances father and son. Nejat travels to Istanbul to search for Yeter's daughter Ayten. Political activist Ayten has fled the Turkish police and is already in Germany. She is befriended by a young woman, Lotte, who invites rebellious Ayten to stay in her home, a gesture not particularly pleasing to her conservative mother Susanne. When Ayten is arrested and her asylum plea is denied, she is deported and imprisoned in Turkey. Lotte travels to Turkey,where she gets caught up in the seemingly hopeless situation of freeing Ayten.

Nurgül Yesilçay - Ayten 'Gül' Öztürk
Baki Davrak - Nejat Aksu
Tuncel Kurtiz - Ali Aksu
Hanna Schygulla - Susanne Staub
Patrycia Ziolkowska - Charlotte 'Lotte' Staub
Nursel Köse - Yeter / Jessy
Ali Akdeniz - Plainclothes Policeman May 1
Aliye Alioglu - Old woman in Camburnu
Asuman Altinay - Türkan
Onder Cakar - Riza Bey
Erkan Can - Nejat's Cousin
Emre Cosar - Cengiz
Gengiz Daner - Gas station owner
Sevilay Demirci - Nurhan
Elcim Eroglu - Elcim


Official Website: Offical Site [Turkey] | Official site [Germany] |

Release Date: 27 September 2007

Filming Locations: Bremen, Germany

Opening Weekend: $18,593 (USA) (25 May 2008) (1 Screen)

Gross: $741,283 (USA) (12 October 2008)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

A whole subplot of Baki Davrak's character meeting an old flame and rekindling their romance was excised as it slowed the film down.

Factual errors: In the film, the year is 2006 and it is the Festival of Sacrifices (Kurban Bayrami), a religious holiday. Everybody is in summer clothes and many of them are sweating. The Festival of Sacrifices in 2006 in Turkey was in winter, at the end of December.

story: After telling the story of Abraham that was willing to sacrifice his son, Ismael, to show God his obedience. Before Abraham could slay his son God sent a lamb to sacrifice instead.
Nejat Aksu: I asked my dad if he would have sacrificed me as well.
Yeter: And what did he say?
Nejat Aksu: That he would even make an enemy of God to protect me.

User Review

Complex and thought-provoking

Rating: 10/10

"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.


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