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The Edge of Heaven

un film de Fatih Akin

With its crossover storylines of a jaded thirty-something Turkish-German college professor, his machismo-laden drunkard father, a lonely aging prostitute, her missing revolutionary daughter, a stifled yearning-to-break-free college student and her ex-hippie lost soul of a mother, Fatih Akin's The Edge of Heaven plays out almost as if in the same school of thought as Crash or Babel, but with a much less turgid approach than those Hollywood bombasticies. Filled to the brim with a slew of rather infuriating close-calls and near-misses and leaning quite a bit toward the over-sentimental crowd, Akin's happenstance-happy film nonetheless is an enjoyable little parable on the whole butterfly wing-flapping theory of everything being inter-connected.

Akin's film, even with its precipice-dangling participles, heavy with a dangerously pretentious syrup, is laden with a moody (not to sound too cliche'd) otherworldness that surely comes from his own outsiderness of being a Turkish born German, which gives his films (2005's Head-On very much included) a two-worlds kind of feel. With a film-ending collision precipitated at every near-miss and close-call, Akin has put together what ends up being much more noir than one might at first expect - or suspect.

Also twinging with flairs of the Nouvelle Vague (an urgent suddenness hangs over the proceedings like the sword of freaking Damocles) and even more so, the New German Cinema of Fassbinder, Wenders and the like (Fassbinder muse Hanna Schygulla even co-stars as a heart-broken mother) Akin's film is at all times alive with possibilities - even if those possibilities at times seem quite obvious and laughably foreshadowed. In the end, which plays out as both cinematic, in an old world kind of way, and audacious, in an over-sentimental (and old world?) kind of way, we are left with a strange taste in our mouths. Whether this is a good strange taste or a bad strange taste is up to one's preconceptions of cinema I suppose, but either way, the taste will linger for quite a while. [9/12/08]

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