The Edge of Heaven (Auf der anderen Seite, Germany-Turkey-Italy, 2007)

Love in a political world

Love in a political world

A film that uses interweaving narratives (which one blogger calls ‘implausible coincidences’ and so misses the point of melodrama) to suggest how ‘globalisation’ – in the sense of increased migration – has made the world a  smaller place. Focusing on the relationship between Germany and Turkey, and so the EC and an ‘eastern’ nation trying to join, Edge of Heaven mingles the personal (relationships between lovers and parents) with the political; the focus is on the former as the political conflict in Turkey (between Kurds and the government as well as secularists and Islamists) is a backdrop and  not explained.

Great to see Hannah Schygulla: the sexy Maria Braun now an equally charismatic matron. And, as a post on IMDB notes, portraying a lesbian relationship in Turkish cinema is a progressive act.

I didn’t find the film completely gripping but it does resonate afterwards so watch it.

The Silence of Lorna (Le Silence de Lorna, 2008, Belgium, France, Italy, Germany,)

Hustling nationalities

Hustling nationalities

There have been a number of films this century that have dealt with migration: the best include the thriller of Dirty Pretty Things (UK, 2002), the abstruse Code: Unknown (2000) and the realist Ghosts (UK, 2006). The Silence of Lorna is also realist with its handheld camera and focus on life in the margins. The realism, however, hinges on the utterly convincing performance of Arta Dobroshi in the lead.

This is a grim ‘slice of life’ that suggests that the price of a human life is a pittance for many. Whilst this is nothing new it is shocking to realise that this ‘third world’ expectation is in the heart of Europe. I found the ending puzzling: a retreat of the city? A grim pastoral place? Lorna losing her mind? Maybe she should’ve simply taken the money and ran. The relationshipl between Lorna and her ‘husband’ is beautifully rendered and, presumably the shocking twists of the narrative where why the script won at Cannes.