|Romuald Karmakar, talking about film versions of theater plays
on the Berlin festival press conference said he was completely on André
Bazin's side. Fatih Akin, asked how close the story of "Head On" was to his
own life, gave this answer: It was a story he had to squeeze out like
a pimple after years of festering. The difference between these answer sums
up quite nicely the difference between these two German directors. Where
Karmakar is a man of intellect and thorough deliberation, Akin completely,
almost blindly trusts in his story, his actors and the powers conjured up
by their energy and interaction. It may come as a big and pleasant surprise,
then, that both Karmakar's latest and "Head On"are excellent
"Head On" begins in a tragi-comic manner, throwing Cahit and Sibel
against each other in suicidal furor, literally so. She wants to get out
of a world that denies her the freedom she seeks. It's the world of her Turkish
family where it is the men's job and duty to keep an eye on the women's
innocence. No matter how, murder is the final and very real option. Cahit,
on the other hand, is a 40 year old loser, somehow earning his money, taking
drugs, we hear about his history, but not much: He was married, we never
learn what became of his wife Katharina. Sibel has two options, she tells
Cahit: suicide or marrying him. Make no mistake here: She wants to marry
him to be free. Free to sleep with whomever she wants, that is. They marry,
Cahit falls in love with her. The film at this point turns into tragedy,
and a very bitter one.
It is not the last twist or turn in this ever surprising story, but
you are ready to take them for granted, all of them, twisting and turning.
None of the ways the narrative goes is what Robert McKee will teach you and
the only logic it follows is a logic of breakneck despair. And yet: it's
all completely believable. "Head On" is by no means a perfect film (whereas
Romuald Karmakar's "Die Nacht singt ihre Lieder" is almost too perfect).
The leading actress was casted from the street - her only "acting" experience
being porn movies -, but even her lack of professional skills fits her role
just perfectly. Akin does not have very much of a deliberate concept, it
all seems done by intuition, every single picture of it. But it is convincing.
It is touching. It is powerful. A comedy, a tragedy, a tragi-comedy. A sad,
a gentle ending.
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