• R, 2 hr. 2 min.
  • Drama, Romance
  • Directed By:
    Fatih Akin
    In Theaters:
    Jan 21, 2005 Wide
    On DVD:
    Sep 13, 2005
  • Strand Releasing

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Head-On (Gegen die Wand) Reviews

Page 1 of 40
Bob S

Super Reviewer

June 15, 2008
saw it
Pierluigi P

Super Reviewer

December 19, 2008
Sordid but compelling tale of amour fou.
Rubia

Super Reviewer

May 28, 2009
Some people choose the hardest way to live/change. "If you want to end your life, end it. You don't have to kill yourself to do that."
Lucas M

Super Reviewer

May 6, 2011
Ganhador do Urso de Ouro no Festival de Berlim, o longa nos apresenta a história de dois imigrantes que tentam se entender em um mundo que ninquà (C)m os entende. Uma fuga para farsa, que aos poucos um novo sentido à  vida de ambos.
ebs90
ebs90

Super Reviewer

December 10, 2008
Can't believe I hadn't written about Gegen Die Wand yet!!! I'm pretty sure it's one of my recent discoveries that I most love and I count it among my favorite films.

Fatih Akin's film is about a self-destructive Turkish man and a self-destructive Turkish woman in Germany, whose paths meet and who decide to marry out of convenience, only to discover -with tragic consequences- that they helplessly need each other from then on. It's fascinating to observe how the dynamic inside their dubious marriage changes as they begin to know each other more and more, and how they struggle to be flexible and accept the turn that their lives have taken. Akin takes both characters, Cahit and Sibel, from one extreme to the other of the emotional scale; both of them set out as moody, impulsive, self-deprecating, and unstable, only reaching their balance point when they are together. They are troubled, suffer from multiple addictions, and reluctant to accept responsibilities or sacrifice themselves too much. Theirs is a relationship in which the first they ever saw of each other was their worst side, and one that evolves towards discovering the best. They both teach each other things they would've never learned otherwise, and the film ends accordingly: not romantically, not ideally, not tragically, but exactly the way it should.

I love the way the film is written and made. This story could have easily been corny if not told properly, or, on the other hand, too dark for its own good. Akin's take is refreshingly real, straying away from sentimentalism or naturallism. The film is also shot beautifully and it's full of gorgeous Turkish music (as well as new/no wave).

At the core of the film, and above all else, are Birol Unel and Sibel Kekili's soulful performances. Both are completely absorbed by their characters and both manage to enhace their beauty (which, sometimes, is hard to believe that may even be there at all) as in making them relatable, if not comprehensible. Birol Unel is... in my opinion... captivating.

In few words, Gegen die Wand is a great movie and it can be appreciated for the quality of the performances and the direction, but it resonates with me very much and that is the main reason why I feel so drawn to it and why I recommend it. I think it's very honest, raw, and yet not a disgusting or depressing film. Despite all the tragedies that may occur to them, the characters are survivors and are left with the memory of a life-changing experience that one could only wish to have. It speaks about how fast the world turns and how uncertain life is, how you can find things where and when you least expect it. And it talks about how people can change. Deep, yes, but not tiresome (on the contrary!) and not preachy. Wonderful.
Stefanie C

Super Reviewer

April 9, 2008
Paths of self-destruction and despair collide and traverse winding roads to affirmation. Faith Akin immerses this familiar plot in Turkish-German culture, avoiding pretension, melodrama and cliche to reveal achingly honest and human characters.
rubystevens
rubystevens

Super Reviewer

December 17, 2008
a marriage of convenience evolves into punk rock romance. great film with alot of attitude, set in the turkish community in hamburg. i enjoyed the interludes of traditional turkish music, a nice juxtaposition with the non-traditional characters. once again, it's generally not a good idea to hook up with someone you met in rehab :P
arashxak
arashxak

Super Reviewer

September 27, 2008
Winner of the Golden Bear at the 2004 Berlin Film Festival, This is not just another typical immigrant drama, Impressive with good perfs
Red L

Super Reviewer

March 3, 2008
A movie about strict Muslim values and love. Cahit and Sibel first marry for convenience, but eventually start to care for each other which is severely tested when Cahit is sent to jail.
Christopher M

Super Reviewer

March 26, 2007
Part of my post-war German film course. This is a tragic and totally raw film about Sibel, a young Turkish woman living in Germany and the man, Cahit, she chooses to "pretend marry" in order to appease her devoutly Turkish family so she can freely live her desired life of abundant sexuality (with many men) and partying. It becomes a love story when the two, inevitably, fall in love. I loved pretty much everything about this film. I appreciated the richness of the characters. The soundtrack was awesome and enhanced the film a lot. The cinematography and editing were totally neat and brilliantly done; the technique was used, for example, of hearing the first couple seconds of each scene before it actually appears, and this gave the film a continuous, unrippled flow despite the vivacity of the shots. The writing was swell, and the acting was great - major kudos to Sibel Kekilli (Sibel) and Birol ‹nel (Cahit), their performances were both stellar. Birol ‹nel has to be one of the coolest motherfuckers on the planet, as well.

The film comes off as totally authentic, and deals with a lot of serious issues, such as suicide, alcholism/drug addiction, the role of family, fidelity. And all of this was dealt with more than adequately by Fatih Akin's intelligent filmmaking, making great use of parallelism and symbolism and other thematic techniques that really presents us with something to think about. Its just totally realistic, and sensual, and funny, and at times, beautiful. This is a wonderful film, and if you get the chance - see it!
Jens S

Super Reviewer

December 1, 2006
Sibel, a turkish girl living in Germany marries Cahit to get rid of the controling bonds her family has on her. This wouldn't be a German drama film if what starts out rather amusing wouldn't soon go down the drain, including manslaughter, rape and drugs. Thankfully, the movie is not without hope in all its sadness and is very well acted.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

January 30, 2005
[color=darkolivegreen]So, what is the fine line between suicidal and self-destructive behavior? The excllent, provocative new film from Germany, "Head-On" wants to have a few words on the subject. Basically, the movie starts out with Cahit(Birol Unel), a Turkish immigrant who collects empties at a night club, having a wild night out on the town, followed by driving his car straight into a wall. Since there were no skid marks, the doctors surmised that he was trying to kill himself and confine him to a mental hospital. There, a young woman Sibel(Sibel Kikelli) overhears his surname and like her he is of Turkish descent and immediately goes over to him and proposes marriage.(Which breaks the land speed record in this category and also would provide a perfectly good story for any grandchildren as to how their grandparents met.) All he is interested in is alcohol; she is interested in living a new life away from her restrictive parents and having lots of wanton sex and could use a husband to provide a cover. Cahit and Sibel would be nothing more than roommates. Such is the place where lousy sitcoms are born but "Head-On" excels by not going for easy laughs and not seeking to take a sentimental view of these difficult characters. The film is occasionally interrupted by a real live Turkish chorus. The last image in the film is of them taking a bow. It is well deserved.[/color]
[color=#556b2f][/color]
[color=darkorange]Nearly all of the Luis Bunuel films I have seen until now have been from his later period(60's to 70's) where he is specializing in surreal imagery like Belle du Jour, That Obscure Object of Desire, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and The Milky Way. I had read about some of the films he had made in Mexico but Los Olividados(1950) is the first of them that I have seen. Basically, it is about a group of street urchins in Mexico City(even though the film makes it clear it could take place anywhere). Jaibo, a charismatic sociopath, has just escaped from a reform school. Some of the impact of this film has dulled over the years but it is still a very good movie about the impact of poverty on a younger generation and that kindness can somtimes only be handed out by those who can afford to. Oh and Bunuel, still manages to get a couple of vivid dream sequences into the film.[/color]
[color=#ff8c00][/color]
[color=indigo]"Monsieur N." starts out with the exhuming of Napoleon Bonaparte's remains on St. Helena in 1840, 19 years after his death.(Perhaps, they were just checking to see if he was still dead.) The movie flashes back to Napoleon's final imprisonment on the island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic. "Monsieur N." wants to speculate on possible conspiracies as to the causes of Napoleon's death but it is not interesting or imaginative enough to succeed on that point. It does retain some interest as to the relationship of the imprisonment of the former emperor who perhaps never considered himself to be a prisoner versus the English who most certainly did. There is a distraction concerning what can only be called a schoolboy crush. It is a shame that "Monsieur N" does not really come alive until its conclusion because I think it could have been quite a bit better.[/color]
John B

Super Reviewer

January 24, 2010
Very powerful film. I enjoyed this tremendously.
lesleyanorton
lesleyanorton

Super Reviewer

June 3, 2011
Fantastic German drama about two troubled Turkish people who meet in psychiatric out-patients and get married mighty quick to escape their lives. Both leads are magnificent, compelling despite their flaws, and the story packs a punch thats hard to forget.

One star deduction as I'm still hoping for a drama with a strong sexually-independant female lead who DOESN'T get raped somewhere along the line.
Richard F

Super Reviewer

July 30, 2009
Not a bad effort by Fatih Akin, considering the low-budget video production available. However, this film pales in comparison to Akin's masterpiece "The Edge of Heaven", one of the best films ever made. "Head On" gains an extra half star for it's sobering ending and a cast of characters that are masters of their game.
iLeo
iLeo

Super Reviewer

February 1, 2008
Here's an interesting movie that centralizes around a couple who meet at a psychiatric ward in Hamburg (both tried to commit suicide). Sibel asks Cahit to marry so that she can get her family to back off a bit. They do, and their out-of-sorts relationship begins. Birol ‹nel and Sibel Kekilli stars. Worth seeing!
Ina S

Super Reviewer

March 29, 2006
The DVD cover says it best: "Raw, powerful, extraordinary" actually hits the nail on the head. This is most likely one of the best German films ever made - and a very tough ride for the audience. The sheer realism of it all makes this movie hard to forget. Perfect little drama with a marvelously talented cast. If only German cinema would always be this gripping and intense.
December 1, 2009
The most realistic picture of Turks in Germany. A generation belongs nowhere. They are neither a Turk in Turkey nor a German in Germany. And that causes a self-destructive personality. And with the characters of the movie, audience heads on to the wall of cultures conflict. Performances are awesome. Especially Birol Unel is spectacular. And Fatih Ak?n, a brave director really.
GabrielKnight
December 9, 2010
A fascinating story, masterfully told. I was totally blown away by this movie. Fatih Akin is now one of my favorite directors.
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