In Solino,a little boy is given a mantra to live by. Passion and ardour are the key to a full life,a crusty film director tells the wonder-struck boy. Tell me,how well do you know this street? I know it well,I cross it everyday,says the boy. A few minutes later,the boy discovers that he actually doesnt: the window that has plants on the sill stands out from the rest,a colourful red splashed against the grey drabness.
Ardour and passion colour all the works of Fatih Akin,the young German filmmaker of Turkish descent. The emotional charge his films deliver is the answer to a character asking in Solino,What will the two things buy you? The vividness of his movies as they unerringly capture the joys and griefs,the big itches and the small scratches fills your vision and your heart in the way the best films do.
The dilemma of twin identities Akins Turkish roots never very far from his German present is a large part of his films. Head-On is an off-the-wall love story between two volatile individuals,a young Turkish-German woman who will go to any lengths to get out of the clutches of her bigoted family,even marry a drunken,doped-out slob,and the said slob who turns from a reluctant groom to a committed spouse.
Akins characters are not afraid of experiencing feelings. When they hurt,they bleed. Grown men cry unashamedly. Siblings love and hate each other. Akin conjures up a medley of emotions that feel true and right. His arrival on the German filmmaking scene was timely German films,which once contributed to world classics,had ended up being comic pastiches or cool post-modern stuff like Run Lola Run.
In Crossing the Bridge: The Sound Of Istanbul,about the musical traditions in Istanbul,Akin shows that he is equally good at the documentary genre.
The DVDs include sections on the making of the films,and an interview with the director,which is much like his movies,lively and engaging.