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Personal thoughts
First Publication: Fatih Akin 2007 Official Press Kit
13 February 2012
 
 
   
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Film: The Edge of Heaven (2007)
 
NOT GOING OUT IN THE FIRST ROUND

I put so much into the making of Head-On, that when I finished, I had no idea what to do next. On my previous films, I had always known what I was doing next before finishing the current one. So there I was in this bad situation not knowing what to do. Ironically, to make matters worse,  Head-On became a big success for me. I wasn’t expecting it. As great as it was, success doesn’t make everything easier. I got even more blocked. I felt pressured to come up with something better than  Head-On. I wanted to do better artistically. I had to prove to myself that  Head-On wasn’t the best I could do. I relate a lot of things to sports, so I kept thinking that I didn’t want to go out in the first round. I was faced with the challenge of following up Head-On. Being faster than Carl Lewis. Being Ben Johnson.

BECOMING A PARENT

Becoming a parent had a huge impact on me. My son was born in 2005. Suddenly I had to be more responsible and think about tomorrow. Before I was just a rock ’n’ roll kind of guy. The birth of my son eased a lot of the creative pressure I was under. It definitely affected my writing. Teaching at a university in Hamburg, sharing my experiences with students, that also helped. Making the documentary Crossing the Bridge, also helped ease the pressure. Going to Turkey, meeting all those singers and musicians, that was like therapy.

MY HOMEWORK

Filmmaking is a big part of my life, but it pales next to issues like birth, love and death. To really grow up, I felt I had to make three films. Call it a trilogy if you want to, but it’s basically three films that belong together because of their themes of love, death and evil. HEAD-ON was about love. The Edge of Heaven is about death. Death in the sense of every death is a birth. Like both death and birth open doors to other dimensions. With  The Edge of Heaven, I feel like I’m reaching some other level, but something is still missing that will be in the third film about evil. I just feel like I have to tell something to the end. These three films are kind of my homework, then I can move on. Maybe move on to genre films, film noir, western, even horror.

THE ART OF LOVING 

Erich Fromm’s “The Art of Loving” influenced me a lot. I’m fascinated by human relationships. Not just boy meets girl or in a sexual sense, but also between parents and children. All human relationships. I believe that all the wars in the world are the result of not using love in the way that humanity should. I think evil is the product of laziness. It’s easier to hate someone than to love them.

EDUCATION CAN SAVE THE WORLD

Literacy, education, plays a profound role in  The Edge of Heaven. A book is a key image in the conflict between Nejat and his father. Which book to show? It was a very difficult decision for me. I didn’t want “Siddartha” or “The Hobbit” or anything too full of some parallel meaning. So I thought I would advertise my friend’s fantastic book. I chose “Die Tochter des Schmieds (The Blacksmith’s Daughter)” by Selim Ozdogan. In regards to the film, the key element is about reading. Reading stands for education. And education is the only thing that can save the world.

SAMPLING

The challenge for me as a filmmaker is not to repeat myself. I like to surprise myself and ultimately the audience. I hope that all my films will seem different. I guess we’ll be able to judge that five films from now. When my ideas come, they all come at the same time and they come from a lot of different sources. I even recyle, like sampling in hip hop music, which I love. They use known bass lines to create something new from something old, and it’s a sort of homage at the same time. Some of the issues in  The Edge of Heaven were sampled from   Crossing the Bridge. The character of the political activist Ayten was inspired by those Kurdish singers. Here in the West, we don’t have to fight for freedom of speech. But the war for justice is still going on in Turkey.

AM I POLITICAL?

I want to change the world - am I political? My film hopes the world will change – is it political? Probably more philosophical, but I think everything is political in today’s world. In the times we live in, I think it’s impossible to separate life and politics and art.
I believe in the stuff I believe in, but I might change my mind tomorrow. I try not to be dogmatic. Whatever people believe in – religion or politics – everything has limits, everything heads in one direction. I wanted to make a film about going to the other side of all that, going beyond all that. I tried to make this film with some distance, as a viewer from the outside. But it didn’t seem to be possible. Sometimes it’s not the head which directs. I guess it’s a part of me that’s much more irrational, like the heart.
 
 
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