Monday, November 26, 2007

Yaşamın Kıyısında

Went to see this film, called 'Auf der anderen Seite' in German. It's made by a Turkish-German film-maker, Fatih Akim, and includes stars like Hanna Schygulla, playing a concerned mum. It's kind of a strange film, and of course I saw it in Turkish, with the occasional bit in German subtitled. Hence I now know the Turkish word for 'sh*t'.

It's sort of three stories, which are connected. An old Turk in Germany goes to a prostitute and falls in love with her. Not sure if that actually happens at the first visit, or when she is threatened and asks him for help. He invites her to live with him, and introduces her to his son, who is a 'Germanistik'-professor at Hamburg University. Not sure if he wants the single son to marry her. But before anything develops, disaster strikes....Cut.

A young woman, Ayten, in Turkey is involved in some political upheaval, including the carrying of a gun, and when she sees her flatmates arrested, she flees the country to Germany, where her mother lives (lived?- and guess who is the mother??). She comes in as an illegal immigrant, cannot find her mother, goes to the University where she sleeps through a lecture by the professor (see above) and is finally picked up by a young woman, Lotte, who falls in love with her. The young woman's mum looks on with concern. Eventually Ayten is caught, fails her asylum seeker test. Lotte follows her to Istanbul to try and get her out of prison; she rents a room in the professor's flat who has by now moved to Istanbul....disaster strikes....Cut.

Lotte's mum travels to Istanbul to find traces and memories of her daughter, visits the professor to see her daughter's room, and ends up staying there.....And then what? Search me!

The end was very much in the air - all in all the film seemed to be about many missed opportunities, lack and loss of communication, sadness. It seemed slow to me, but not understanding the words may have had something to do with it. Beautifully acted and filmed, in Istanbul as well as in Germany (which indeed has a German-Turkish bookshop not far from my hotel, as described in the book). But it had a bit of a non-ending, with many questions left open.

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