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Director:Fatih Akin
Cast:Birol Ünel, Sibel Kekilli, Catrin Striebeck, Güven Kirac, Meltem Cumbul
Genre:Drama, Romance

Opens March 25 at the Charles Theatre.

By Lee Gardner | Posted 3/23/2005

Cahit (Birol Ünel) is an utter mess, a drunken Hamburg nightclub janitor so angry and depressed that one night he drives his car full speed into a brick wall. Waking up in a psychiatric hospital, he meets fellow failed suicide Sibel (Sibel Kekilli), who, on discovering that he’s Turkish too, asks him if he wants to get married—she’s desperate to escape her repressive first-gen immigrant family, and any single Turk, no matter how pathetic, will do. She wants to sleep around and party, he wants to be left alone to drink and mope. But just as you’ve got writer/director Fatih Akin’s Head-On pegged as a darker take on ethnic opposites-attract rom-coms—a Turkish-German Moonstruck, if you will—things take a turn for the darker, indeed, and Akin steers the characters’ displacement—neither properly Turkish nor German—and star-crossed relationship into a somber romantic meditation on trying to find a home in the world, even if it’s just one other person. Neither Akin’s writing nor directing are particularly dazzling, but he manages the drastic shift in tone without derailing the story. It helps that Ünel brims with goatish, sad-eyed charisma and the sexy, soulful Kekilli turns in what would be a star-making turn if it weren’t buried in a peculiar foreign import.

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