7.9/10
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88 user 122 critic

Head-On (2004)

Gegen die Wand (original title)
Trailer
1:52 | Trailer
With the intention to break free from the strict familial restrictions, a suicidal young woman sets up a marriage of convenience with a forty-year-old addict, an act that will lead to an outburst of envious love.

Director:

Fatih Akin

Writer:

Fatih Akin (book)
25 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Birol Ünel ... Cahit
Güven Kiraç Güven Kiraç ... Seref
Zarah Jane McKenzie Zarah Jane McKenzie ... Barfrau in der Fabrik (as Zarah McKenzie)
Stefan Gebelhoff Stefan Gebelhoff ... Nico
Catrin Striebeck Catrin Striebeck ... Maren
Francesco Fiannaca Francesco Fiannaca ... Mann am Tresen
Mona Mur Mona Mur ... Stammkundin Zoe Bar
Sibel Kekili ... Sibel (as Sibel Kekilli)
Ralph Misske ... Patient 1 (Psychiatrie)
Philipp Baltus ... Patient 2 (Psychiatrie)
Hermann Lause Hermann Lause ... Dr. Schiller
Karin Niwiger Karin Niwiger ... Kassiererin (Psychiatrie)
Demir Gökgöl Demir Gökgöl ... Yunus Güner (Vater)
Cem Akin Cem Akin ... Yilmaz Güner (Bruder)
Aysel Iscan 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

Taglines:

You don't really know how much you can love... See more »

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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Birol Ünel had not been in military service in Turkey and therefore could not travel to Turkey without being arrested. However, as they say on DVD, at the last minute Turkish parliament decided on an amnesty, so he could return to his home country for the first time after 10 years and finish the movie. 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

Cahit: Are you strong enough to stay between me and her?
Selma: Are you strong enough to destroy her life?
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

References Cholera Street (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Roman oyun havasi
( K/T: Selim Sesler, produced by Alexander Hacke )
Performed by Selim Sesler and Orchestra
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User Reviews

 
Harsh, Gritty, Tough...Very Moving Film!
21 March 2006 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

'Gegen die Wand' in German, 'Duvara karsi' in Turkish, or 'HEAD-ON' in English is an explosive drama written and directed by Faith Akin, a movie that may be tough to watch, but a movie that has enormous impact. While other films have successfully addressed the particular problems that the immigrant Turkish community in Germany face, few have come as close to examining all sides of the on-going issues of displacement and the effects of familial dispersal in the face of a new culture.

Cahit (Birol Ünel) is a thirty-something lost soul, drinking and snorting himself into oblivion over the loss of his beloved wife. He lives in a slum, spends all his time in sleazy bars getting beaten up for inappropriate behavior until one night he drunkenly drives into a wall (?suicidal?) and ends up in a hospital where he 'meets' Sibel (Sibel Kekilli), a young woman who has again attempted suicide as an escape from her strict family's prevention of her having a life. Hearing Cahit is Turkish, Sibel nonchalantly suggests they 'marry': Sibel's only way to escape her family would be to find a Turkish husband. Though grossly mismatched, the two agree to an 'open marriage', they satisfy Sibel's family, and move in together. Sibel cooks and cleans Cahit's hovel, and then goes out and sleeps around. This arrangement eventually causes problems for each of them and Sibel moves to Istanbul to escape the horrors of the life she has chosen. Once alone, Cahit is confronted with the reality that Sibel is the only path to salvation for his tragic life and the story proceeds - or rather speed drives - its way to a heartrending finish.

The characters in the film are generally unlikable sorts, especially Cahit, but each actor does so well allowing us to observe the dreary world that faces immigrants in a fractured society that we end up having an amazing amount of compassion for their character creations. Director Akin makes this two-hour plus drama speed by with such solid purpose that it seems a short film. There is considerable nudity and the sexual encounters may be a problem for some viewers, but Akin's cinematographer Rainer Klausmann makes everything work toward the ultimate message of the film. An interesting touch is Akin's choice of weaving a chamber music group of a female vocalist with Turkish instrumentalists as a chorus to comment on the action and keep us mindful that, though the film for the most part is set in Germany, this is a very Turkish story! Grady Harp


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Germany | Turkey

Language:

German | Turkish | English

Release Date:

11 March 2004 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Head-On See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,216, 23 January 2005

Gross USA:

$435,395

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,065,801
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital EX

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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