Movie Review

Head On- Fatih Akin



I have a habit of picking some international movie. Being a film student I like watching new cinema. European Cinema has always fascinated me. It has fascinated me so much that i even applied for a Film School there and got admission also. Sadly due to some reasons couldn’t join it. But still my love for European Cinema stays. Recently I went to Crosswords Book Store in Bandra, Mumbai and was going through the International movies Section. Thanks to NDTV Lumeire getting the international movies to India, I have now seen quite a lot of Popular ones atleast. That day I picked over 10 DVD’s & CDs from the store and out of them one was Fatih Akin’s “HEAD ON”(The original German title Gegen Die Wand). It was the summary of the movie which invited me to pick up and I don’t regret my decision. I recommend this movie. WHY..You will know soon now.

Head On is a movie lot of my friend’s ended up hating it. This movie is a story of Cahit, a German Turk in his late 30’s. He has given up his life after his wife’s death, and is living a miserable life full of cocaine and drinking. One night, he crashes into a wall, and barely survives. At the hospital he meets, Sibel,Head_On_32 another German Turk who tried to commit suicide. She’s sick & tired of her family’s ultra-traditional issues, and asks Cahit to marry her out of the blues, so that she can get rid of her family’s revolting pressure. Cahit gets turned off by the idea at first, but then he agrees to take part in her plan.Cahit brushes her off, but Sibel, nothing if not persistent, doesn’t stop at slashing her wrists again to make her point – this time even following Cahits advice as to how wrists should be slit where earlier he tells her that cutting ones wrists across “is shit”. Why Cahit eventually agrees to marry her is obscure. In one of the most beautiful scenes in the movie Cahit goes home after being pestered by Sibel and tries on a tuxedo that seems quite literally from another age and stares at his reflection in the dusty TV screen. In the midst of the mess Sibel represents some sort of hope, some human connection, which Cahit seems sorely in need of.

Sibel is interested only in absolute freedom involving other men and they agree, they live as roommates with separate private lives for a while. Then things take a different turn, and they’re no longer two indifferent roommates. She is reveling in her freedom and as they get more comfortable with each other, become friends, some of it rubs onto him too. We know that love will come next, but to  Cahit Head_On_20and Sibel it comes as a surprise. Head On is not in the business of playing to clichés though and the two protagonists are on the same page only for a heartbreakingly fleeting moment before a most random act of anger destroys that hope, with Cahit in jail and Sibel fleeing to Istanbul, promising to wait for him.That distance and the aging and growing of these two characters are what make the end of the movie fall perfectly into place too. There is hope, there is a new beginning but there is also, as the song that plays at the end says ‘infinite sadness’.This is what redeems the movie in the end and it’s a sad but perfect ending.

Head On is not a typical immigrant tale either and perhaps that’s why it captures little vignettes of immigrant life so well. The story takes you in and makes you feel all the sadness, craziness, happiness, joy and deep depressions of the characters. There is a  bitterness of reality all over the movie and is kind of depressing. The story is politically and socially a very good one story of true lives of thousands of peoples  stuck between two cultures. Another thing which impresses me is the lady who comes in between the scenes singing & linking the scenes.Akin gives us love but no happy endingHead_On_19

All I can say is that you should see “Head On,” and that, even if you end up hating it, there will be no denying the fact that you have been through something and that, if you are still foolish and hopeful enough to let movies get to you, the person who went into the theatre will not be quite the same as the person who comes out. The movie won around 22 awards including the Golden Berlin Bear Award. Head On went on to take Best European Film of 2004 . Another very good watch on a Sunday Afternoon.


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