Category Archives: My Movie Recommendations

Head On (Gegen die Wand), Fatih Akin

Beautiful song and gorgeous food! That scene transported me back to my childhood – thought I could smell that familiar aroma of freshly cooked stuffed peppers when I watched Sibil preparing them.  Here is a link to the recipe of this delicious Turkish meal.

Last weekend the cold weather finally arrived just in time for welcoming the extra hour of sleep in exchange of 60 minutes earlier darkness, I didn’t complain. In fact, I had the perfect excuse to make myself comfortable on my sofa, tightly wrapped in my favourite blanket in order to stay cosy and warm and place a bottle of full-bodied Argentinian red wine next to a plate of spicy chorizo – the last few slices bought in Medina de Rioseco during my last stay – on a small table next to the sofa. After enjoying the first sip of the warming wine and slowly savouring several pieces of thinly sliced chorizo I felt content, switched on my laptop and watched “Gegen die Wand” (Head On) by Fatih Akin.

As with “The Edge of Heaven” “Head On” is brilliant. A movie – in German and Turkish – which has just enough dialogues, outstanding performances and a great soundtrack and which is radical, extreme and takes its audience together with the two protagonists on an emotional rollercoaster ride. “Head On” won many awards, such as the Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival and the “Best Film” and  “Audience Award” at the European Film Awards in 2004.

It tells the story of two adults, who meet at a hospital in Hamburg after a failed suicide attempt. Cahit, a 40-year old alcoholic and drug addict, drives his car head on into a wall whilst Sibel wishes for freedom and live life to the full, but as a good Muslim daughter finds it hard break her ties from her Turkish family. Therefore she decides to find her freedom in death. Trying to escape from her traditional family Sibel persuades Cahit to marry her. Both didn’t expect that their marriage of convenience would lift them out of their desperation and that they would learn to find enjoyment in life again…but only for a short while…

Set in Hamburg and Istanbul Akin portrays the hidden agenda of German-born Turkish and Turkish-born-Turkish individuals in Germany, the effects of ones culture on identity and that identity is changeable.

The Edukators – Gerdas ‘Filmtipp’

The Edukators

Just thought of sharing with all of you how this post came about.

After many many months I’ve decided to tidy up the “insides” of the cupboard in the living room, the one which stands next to the window facing our street and is used to display a small TV and lots and lots of DVDs. So, after having cleared out all the board games, DVDs, magazines, table clothes with matching napkins (still waiting to be shown off to friends and finally replacing our much loved flower printed kitchen roll and for special occasions our ‘posh’ IKEA napkins – the large white  ones) and other bits and pieces I…oh dear…didn’t succeed in parting with just ONE thing!! In the end, though, I was nevertheless filled with the wonderful feeling of great achievement after having managed to put everything back inside the cupboard!

It was there and then that I found a copy of the movie “The Edukators” its German title is  “Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei”, which only a few years ago (think it was in 2008) was my favourite film!

If you haven’t watched it yet I can really recommend it because the actors are brilliant, the scenery is beautiful (ah-am..some .Austrian scenery, that is, mountains) the soundtrack is great and the story is original, fun with some surprise at the end!!

The feature is by Hans Weingartner (Free Rainer) and is part thriller, part satire on lost 1960s ideals.

Story: Jan (Daniel Brühl) and Peter (Stipe Erceg -) are passionate to change the world they live in, so they break into homes of the wealthy and rearrange their belongings leaving a note from “The Edukators” who, in this way, want to teach their victims a lesson about the futility of wealth. One day an incident threatens their political beliefs and trust in each other.

Here are also some quotes of what some critics had to say:

“That rare beast, a terrific movie that boasts intelligent wit, expert storytelling, delightful characters and grown-up dialogue plus suspense and a wicked surprise ending.” (The Hollywood Reporter, Ray Bennett)

“What makes the film so affecting, however, is its matter-of-fact evocation of character. Each person in the four-character cast is vivid and specific and believable.” (Washington Post, Steven Hunter)

To get you in the mood here’s a short movie trailer:

Hope you enjoy “The Edukators” as much as I did!

La flor de mi secreto

Having seen many Almodovar movies I couldn’t resist the temptation to watch “La flor de mi secreto” on a big screen during the Spanish Film Festival. Previously, probably about 12 years ago, I watched the movie on video on my small TV. Then I just started learning Spanish, then I watched the whole film without subtitles, and missed a lot. A lot, if not all, of the fantastic dialogues.

On a Tuesday evening 12 years later – equipped with more Spanish – I  sat inside the cinema at the French (!) Institut. This time I could follow all the dialogue…but not because my Spanish had improved that much, but because of the English subtitles, and gosh, did I enjoy that evening!

“La flor de mi secreto” was introduced by the wonderful Marisa Paredes, (winner of 3 x Best Actress) who would also join the audience after the screening for a short 30 min Q&A session.

At the end of a wonderful evening I concluded that it is hard to believe that Almodovar’s „La flor de mi secreto“ is already 18 years old…for me this tragic comedy is fresh and colourful and after having watched all of Almodovar’s movies I got surprised after realising that the black novel (plot: a young mother’s  daughter kills her husband because he tried to rape her, the corps ends up in a fridge) in the movie has the same plot as Almodovar’s “Volver”!!

Before falling asleep that night, I tried to decide which one of the many scenes is to be my favourite one. But I couldn’t. I loved the movie from start to finish. However, I did select the following 3 scenes that particularly stuck to my mind.

1. When the junkie tries to take off Leocadida (Leo’s) boots – you can just about see that one boot comes off but is quickly pushed back on :-).

2. When Leo visits her sister’s (Rosa) small apartment, which she shares with her husband and mother. Look out at how Rosa dresses and has her hair done.

3. After a great artistic performance of Leo’s household help and her son (Joaquin Cortes) we see Rose again dressed up to the occasion and having come straight from the hairdresser, fantastic scene!!

Scence “en casa de Rosa”

Cinema Workshops

Really enjoyed meeting my fellow students at Goldsmiths on Wednesday!! We are a real international group, i.e. students from China, Japan, USA, Jamaica, Greece, British, one Austrian 🙂  With such an exciting mix we will surely “live/experience”  the MA’s title, Culture, Language and Identity to the full.

When I got home  that evening I decided to add some more films to my German cinema workshops repetoire. After a bit of digging I’ve decided to prepare some activities around “Auf der anderen Seite” (The edge of Heaven). I absolutely enjoyed watching this movie, which is by Fatih Akin, the same director of “Gegen die Wand” (Head On). “Auf der anderen Seite”, winner of best screenplay at Cannes Film Festival, and The European Film Awards, both is 2007, tells the destinies of six characters, who are bound together by fate. It is a powerful and moving story linking three families across different cultures, countries and generations.