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Head-On (2004)
"Gegen die Wand" (original title)

8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 35,846 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 82 user | 121 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

In 'Gegen die Wand' Cahit, a 40-something male from Mersin in Turkey has removed everything Turkish from his life. He has become an alcoholic drug addict and at the start of the movie wants... See full summary »

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Title: Head-On (2004)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Zarah Jane McKenzie ...
Barfrau in der Fabrik (as Zarah McKenzie)
Stefan Gebelhoff ...
Catrin Striebeck ...
Francesco Fiannaca ...
Mona Mur ...
...
...
Patient 1 (Psychiatrie)
...
Patient 2 (Psychiatrie)
Hermann Lause ...
Karin Niwiger ...
Demir Gökgöl ...
Yunus Güner (Vater)
Cem Akin ...
Yilmaz Güner (Bruder)
Aysel Iscan ...
Birsen Güner (Mutter)
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Storyline

In 'Gegen die Wand' Cahit, a 40-something male from Mersin in Turkey has removed everything Turkish from his life. He has become an alcoholic drug addict and at the start of the movie wants to end it all. Sibel a 20-something female from Hamburg wishes to please her Turkish parents yet yearns for freedom. She has had her nose broken by her brother for being seen holding hands with a boy and yet she can not break her mother's heart and run away. She too attempts suicide and she first approaches Cahit there at the Hospital. Sibel asks Cahit to marry her, as she believes this to be the way out of her parent's house. She promises Cahit that their relationship will be like roommates, not like a married couple. The film follows Sibel and Cahit as they get married, become closer and eventually fall in love. Written by Serena P.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong graphic sexuality, pervasive language, some brutal violence and drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Release Date:

11 March 2004 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Head-On  »

Company Credits

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first German film in 17 years to win the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. See more »

Goofs

The psychiatrist at the beginning of the film tells Cahit about a song by the band The The containing the line "If you can't change the world, change your world". The actual quote (from the song "Lonely Planet", included in the album "Dusk") is "If you can't change the world, change yourself". See more »

Quotes

Dr. Schiller: If you want to end your life, end it. You don't have to kill yourself to do that.
See more »

Crazy Credits

When it comes to Special Thanks, there's a name: Arsen Lüpen. Arsène Lupin is a fictional character, created by the French writer Maurice Leblanc. See more »

Connections

Featured in Fatih Akin - Tagebuch eines Filmreisenden (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Into Your Eyes
( K/T: Mona Mur )
Performed by Mona Mur
With kind permission from Freibank Musikverlage
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Thrilling Roller Coaster Ride of Love and Loss
16 February 2005 | by (Queens, NY) – See all my reviews

"Head On (Gegen die Wand)" is a completely original love story and shames conventional Hollywood romantic comedies with its fresh take on love and loss as rich as Rhett and Scarlett.

The closest I can think of a dysfunctional couple meeting so oddly cute and playing out an unusual relationship is in Christopher Fry's "The Lady's Not for Burning" which shares self-destructive lovers. The German literal title of "Against the Wall" is more resonant of how they feel, but the American distributors probably thought that had too much political implication.

The completely self-involved he and she here are innately off-kilter because writer/director Faith Akin sets them within a diverse Turkish immigrant community of Germany, so that their personalities are circumscribed by cultural expectations and restrictions, she chafing against binds on women and he lost in the nihilistic punk rock underground.

The rocky journey of how they find their own individuality within their sexual and emotional needs and ethnic identity and what each means to the other is an unpredictable thrill ride as each unexpected action leads to tears, laughter, poignancy and regret of bad timing. This is a baldly brash and frank exploration of the meaning of love and marriage, as individuals and within a web of family, friends and culture.

Craggy-faced Birol Ünel is riveting as the older, burned-out case whose past we only glimpse. Sibel Kekilli at first seems like just another pretty young thing, but brings spunk and sympathy on her maturing roller coaster ride. Evidently, deleted scenes that are available on the European DVD help to expand on the hints as to what her closing motivations are.

Dependant on the English subtitles, I'm sure I lost some significances as I wasn't sure when characters were speaking Turkish or German, let alone able to discern their fluency in either, with the added fillip of recognition of globalization with a sudden concluding discussion in Istanbul in English of their future.

The chapter introductions by an ethnic band playing a traditional sad love song adds to the timeliness of the tale that is reminiscent of old folk ballads of tragic love stories. In between, the punk rock and contemporary world fusion selections are terrific, including the moving closing song.


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