Screened as part of NZIFF 2004

Head-On 2003

Gegen die Wand

Directed by Fatih Akin

Germany / Turkey In English, German and Turkish with English subtitles
123 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay


Rainer Klausmann


Andrew Bird


Birol Ünel
Sibel Kekilli
Catrin Striebeck
Güven Kiraç


Berlin, Sydney 2004


Golden Bear (Best Film), Critics' Prize, Berlin 2004


Winner of the Golden Bear for Best Film at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, Head-On is the compelling tale of a pair of rebels who drag each other up from the depths through an unlikely pact. Moving between Hamburg’s Turkish community and Istanbul, the film has the exuberant grittiness and compulsive energy of its loose-cannon protagonists. Cahit is a forty-something German-naturalised Turk, in alcoholic meltdown after his wife’s death. Sibel is a lively young Turkish girl with an appetite for sex, drugs and liquor. She despairs of ever escaping her devout Muslim family. When they meet in the Psych Ward, she proposes a sex-free marriage to the hopeless Cahit, who is just Turkish enough to be acceptable to her father and brothers, and can thus enable her to escape them. Cahit agrees, and their alliance is movingly reinforced by increasing alienation from a society which doesn’t have the faintest understanding of either of them. The fierce passions of Fatih Akin’s impressive film testify anew to a 21st-century German cinema invigorated by immigrant culture. — BG