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Fatih Akin talks about the actors
First Publication: Fatih Akin 2007 Official Press Kit
13 February 2012
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Film: The Edge of Heaven (2007)

I think intelligence is sexy, so I made the character of Nejat a professor. And a German professor of Turkish origin breaks certain clichés which still exist in Germany. Turks today play a significant role in German culture, politics and science. They’re not just hustling in the streets. For Yeter, education is important enough for her to prostitute herself to provide one for her daughter. Nejat can relate to this desire for knowledge.
I liked the irony that when Nejat goes to Istanbul he trades places with a German
intellectual running a bookstore.


I imagined this German mother coming to Istanbul looking for her missing daughter. I had this image early on with Hanna Schygulla in mind. I had met her in Belgrade in 2004 and she put a spell on me. I was really into the idea of working with her. Some German journalists have compared my career to that of Fassbinder’s, but I don’t see it at all.
I come from the streets, not the theater. Yilmaz Güney is more my background, independent against the norm. What Fassbinder was to Hanna, Güney was similar to actor Tuncel Kurtiz, who I also imagined early on to be part of  The Edge of Heaven. But my goal wasn’t to use them as icons from films by Fassbinder and Güney. It would have been vain of me to try and use them like no one else before. I didn’t want my direction to be affected like that. For me, my job is storytelling. And both Hanna and Tuncel fit the idea I had for the parents in the story.


Fighting for something with passion is sexy. And I wanted a sexy character for The Edge of Heaven. Ayten is very emotional. She’s streetsmart and very attractive. She’s a political person. At first, actress Nurgül Yesilçay didn’t feel comfortable with the political background of the character. When she finally agreed, she went all the way. I was fascinated by how well she knew her character. I know a lot of women like Ayten and Nurgül is not one of them. Ayten is sort of a female version of me. She believes in one thing, but later
she will surprise herself and change her ideas.


As Germans, Susanne and Lotte represent the European Union, while Ayten and Yeter represent Turkey. Everything that happens between them in  The Edge of Heaven is representative of the relationship of those systems. I had some fun with the argument between Susanne and Ayten regarding the European Union. But where I stand is not the point. I wrote this dialogue based on what I have often heard from real people around me.
By the end of the film, German Susanne and Turkish Ayten both experience a profound change in how they see and feel about things. In the bookstore scene at the end where they hug, I noticed a small detail only in the edit. Not far from the women, there are two small flags, one German, the other Turkish. My friend and partner, Andreas Thiel, who passed away during the last week of the shoot, put them there. This stands for something.
I guess it’s also a film about the relationship between the two countries.
  Production Diary  
Personal thoughts
13 February 2012
About Turkey and Germany
13 February 2012
Fatih Akin talks about the actors
13 February 2012
  The Edge of Heaven
  Tuncel Kurtiz
  Baki Davrak
  Nurgul Yesilcay
  Hanna Schygulla
  Fatih Akin
  Corazon International
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