The Edge of Heaven Fateh Akin

The Edge of Heaven Fateh Akin

Fateh Akin is not the kind of guy who wins the hearts of millions. His Turkish/German cross-cultural nightmares deal in complexities and emotions that most films — even good ones — soft-pedal so as to make them palatable, and this does nothing for the size of his fan base. That’s a tragedy, for The Edge of Heaven proves his worth in ways quite separate from the fact that it’s one of the best films of the year.

Divided into three sections, the film deals first with stories about two women’s deaths: a middle-aged Turkish prostitute who shacks up for a price with an aging countryman and a lesbian student who falls for a dissident Turk on the run from the police. It wouldn’t be cricket to tell you the how and why but the deaths are mostly catalysts for the characters that live on, some of whom barely miss knowing each other even as they need each other to put together the pieces of their lives.

On the face of it that sounds like the Magnolia/Babel school of "we are all connected, let’s hold hands” filmmaking but Akin turns the model on its head. Instead of disparate people made tenuously and spuriously coherent, this film misleads people intimately linked into losing relationships they need to be whole. And told with bluntness, brutality and courage, it lays bare their painful shortcomings with a power all but vanished from current cinema.

This is the "cultural exchange” movie Canada would like to make but wouldn’t ever dare to, a scorchingly impolite howl of anguish that spares no one in its riveting, unforgettable sprint across borders. (Mongrel Media)