Saturday, 19 December 2009
Head-On (Gegen die Wand) 
The epithets that might closely define Fatih Akin’s Head-On are, in my opinion, grimy, brooding and bare-assed. Akin completely stripped off any sugar-coatings while displaying human frailties and loneliness at their rawest and most naked – both literally and otherwise. The movie concerns the unlikely emotional connect that develops between two severely self-destructive Turkish immigrants residing in Germany – Cahit, an angst-ridden, hard-drinking 40-something widower living in a state of perpetual disarray, and Sibel, a suicidal young girl whose free, rebellious spirit is at complete odds with her restrictive and conservative family – both roles passionately and fearlessly performed. Despite its content of intense emotions, the movie never plays out as either sentimental or exploitative; rather, it is disturbing, downbeat, provocative and unabashedly erotic. In fact, by using a Turkish folk-song as a motif and to loosely divide the movie into various chapters, it seemed to me structurally quite similar to Lars von Triar’s devastating masterpiece Breaking the Waves. And by mixing punk and grunge rock tracks with exotic Turkish numbers in the score, Akin has managed to be unflinchingly brutal yet surprisingly humane in nearly every frame of the movie.
Director: Fatih Akin
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Romance