Thursday, 8 August 2013

Film #11: Head-On (18)

Released: 2004
Directed by: Fatih Akin
Original title: Gegen die Wand (Against/Into the Wall)

Since I started writing this blog, I have revisited some German films that I hadn’t watched for years, and to be honest, I had second thoughts about re-watching this film in order to review it. Whilst I think it’s fantastic, I wouldn’t advise watching it if you’re feeling emotionally fragile!

Sent to a clinic after trying to kill himself, 40-something Cahit (Birol Ünel), a German citizen originally from Turkey, meets 20-something Sibel (Sibel Kekilli), also of Turkish origin, who has attempted suicide as a way of escaping the oppressive traditions of her family. Sibel convinces Cahit to enter into a marriage of convenience that will allow her to do whatever she wants and sleep with whomever she pleases. Whilst things seem fine initially, the pair begin to develop feelings for each other, culminating in an impulsive act of violence that triggers a downward spiral and threatens to tear them apart forever.

I don’t have a bad word to say about this film, but it can be hard-going as the self-destructive characters hurt themselves – and others – both physically and emotionally through an array of fairly graphic sex, violence and drug abuse. 

I would be interested to hear from anyone who has watched this film and doesn’t speak German. The characters often switch between Turkish (which I don’t speak) and German, so I needed the subtitles quite a lot of the time. Would some of this effect be lost if the viewer could not differentiate between the two languages at all?

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