BFI Film Classics on Head-On published
Daniela Berghahn's in-depth study of Fatih Akin's award-winning film GEGEN DIE WAND (Head-On, 2004) has just been published in the prestigious BFI Film Classics Series.
When Fatih Akın’s unconventional film won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2004, it was hailed as a turning point for German cinema. Not only was it the first German film in eighteen years to win the prestigious award, the Turkish German director’s success was celebrated as the revival of German auteur cinema in the tradition of the critically acclaimed New German Cinema. Meanwhile Turkey claimed it as the victory of a Turkish filmmaker. Daniela Berghahn provides an informative and entertaining account of the film’s production history and the contests, scandals and debates that surrounded Head-On in the German and Turkish media. She demonstrates that much of the press coverage harnessed Akın‘s masterpiece to topical debates about immigration, Turkey’s role in the EU, integration and cultural identity but ultimately lost sight of the film itself.
Rather than considering Head-On as just a new take on Turkish German immigrants on screen, Berghahn situates the film in the critical contexts of global art cinema and transnational melodrama. Her sophisticated analysis convincingly illustrates that Head-On revitalises the generic conventions of melodrama by drawing on a diverse range of artistic inspirations, ranging from Douglas Sirk over Rainer Werner Fassbinder to Turkish arabesk music and film. This comparative transnational approach excavates new layers of meaning and offers highly original insights into Akın‘s landmark film.
Posted by Daniela Berghahn on 10 Jun 2015 •