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We will send regular newsletters to our members who have signed up for receiving it during the registration. In 'mymerhaba' newsletter, our editorial staff provides updates, with regard to any information related to places worth visiting, viewing, or otherwise worth knowing, for those who care to know more....

How a Turkish-origin Director Won the Golden Bear

 Untitled Document

The following is an article about Fatih Akın published in March 2004 issue of The Turkish Time.

Fatih Akın is the pride of Germany and Turkey. The young director born in Germany pleased both the Germans and us when he won The Golden Bear with his movie "Head on".

Yet another festival… One of the chief film festivals of the world organized since 1951, the stage from time to time for amusing press statements or political stunts, this year it became more meaningful for Turkey. We are talking about the Berlin Film Festival. At a time, we had won the Golden Bear with Dry Summer directed by Metin Erksan in this festival. This year also put a smile on our faces. We may not have won this award as a country but when the director happened to be Turkish, we became involved. Although Fatih Akın viewed the situation universally, we knew how to take a share out of this joy.

Fatih Akın was born in 1973 in Hamburg as the child of Turkish parents who had migrated to Germany as workers. He grew up watching Turkish films on video to abate the family's longing for their homeland. Before he finished high school, he put it in his mind to spend his life involved with something to do with cinema. His teenager years weren't full of nice stories. He got mixed up in fights as a gang member and came to blows with skinheads. So he learned about violence and hate while he was very young but that was also the time when he learned about love… To realize his idea of breaking into the world of cinema, he started with acting. He acted on stage and then in small roles on tv series. In 1994, he registered at the Hamburg Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Visual Communication. After a short film and a documentary, his cooperation with the Wüste Film Production Company began and has lasted.

This is how Fatih Akın made the transition from acting to directing movies most of which he also wrote the scripts for. He is sincere in saying the agonies of immigrants in Germany, some of which he went through personally, is a form of wealth acquired by him by living together with people from different societies. In 1995, he directed his first short film, "You're The One". This first work was given the Audience Award at the Hamburg International Short Film Festival. In this movie, Akın told the story of a Turkish youth who chanced upon the woman of his dreams. The woman of Akın's dreams was a Turkish girl who liked punk and Robert de Niro. After this first work, in 1996, he shot the short film Weed, a gangster comedy.
The film was shown in many festivals such as Locarno and Montreal and won prizes in the Lünen and Chicago festivals. In July, Solino, Short Sharp Shock were Fatih Akın's long movies which were made back to back and attracted wide interest.

"Head On"
In many of his interviews, Fatih Akın described his last movie as a punk opera. For him, this is a movie bringing together Turkey, melodramas of Turkish cinema, arabesk (an Arab-inspired popular music genre and the culture around it) cinema and German punk cinema. The film revolves around a passionate love but reminds us that it is time to view the immigrant concept in Germany from a different perspective. In the movie, a young Turkish woman has a marriage of convenience trying to break away from her conservative family. When we think of the Turks living in Germany now, the story brings up a contemporary and controversial issue. In order to portray this German-Turkish culture clash on the big screen in a plausible way without falling back on clichés, Fatih Akın depicts the issue borrowing German-German, German-Turkish and Turkish perspectives. He says, "I tried to create a perspective that combines these three very different perspectives to a certain extent" and adds, "There is certainly great respect for traditions in these characters, otherwise the story would not achieve its purpose".

The relations of the second and third generation of Turkish youth with German society, exclusion, the rage and plight of being squeezed in between two cultures are exposed in Akın's movies. But what he particularly stresses in his work is the emotional richness that these people bear within and their passionate loves…As a director who won the Golden Bear in the 54th Berlin Film Festival, Fatih Akın is our source pride though for him what's important is not nationalities but people… And the movies he will make next will still be full of love and passion…




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