If you are not yet familiar with German filmmaker Fatih Akin, then now is the time. One of my favorite directors, Akin continues to wow filmgoers with films that range from dramas touching on political, societal, and cultural issues, fun comedies, and even a documentary with an international flair.
So this month, practice German with films and get to know Fatih Akin with his movies Gegen die Wand, Crossing The Bridge – The Sound of Istanbul, and Soul Kitchen!
Get to Know Fatih Akin
Fatih Akin was born August 25, 1973, in Hamburg, Germany as the child of Turkish immigrants. From early on, Akin was writing his own stories and making short films. He later pursued his passion by studying at the University of Fine Arts of Hamburg (Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg). As a distinguished alumnus, he later returned to the school as a guest professor.
In 1998, he released his debut full-length film, Kurz und schmerzlos. Akin served as both director and writer on the project. To this day, he continues to be involved in most of his projects as more than just a director.
And anyone with a keen eye will notice many of the same faces in Akin’s works. Actors Moritz Bleibtreu and Adam Bousdoukos have both appeared in a number of his films — including four films they were both in (Im Juli, Solino, Soul Kitchen, and The Cut). Meanwhile, Akin’s own brother, Cem, has appeared in many of his projects.
Gegen die Wand (Head-On)
In Gegen die Wand, Cahit (portrayed by the late great Birol Ünel) is a stand-offish, suicidal man with anger and drug problems. When he gets manipulated into marrying Sibel (Sibel Kekilli) so that she can escape her conservative Turkish German family, he isn’t very happy about it.
She struggles to make their situation work while exploring her new freedom as a young woman in Hamburg, indulging in nightlife and short skirts. The film follows their struggles to connect.
Crossing The Bridge – The Sound of Istanbul
While Akin has made a number of dramatic and even a few comedic films, he also has made several documentaries. This documentary, Crossing the Bridge – The Sound of Istanbul, explores Turkish music through the eyes of Einstürzende Neubauten‘s Alexander Hacke. In addition to having a wonderful soundtrack and beautiful scenery, the film also is extremely fascinating as it explores music and instruments that aren’t common to Western culture.
Soul Kitchen is goofy, silly, and plenty of good fun. The film is a light-hearted comedy about a young Greek-German, Zinos (Adam Bousdoukos). He opens his own restaurant while his girlfriend is abroad for work. Things aren’t going so well in the restaurant business. Trying to shake things up, Zinos hires Shayn (Birol Ünel), a difficult to work with chef who’s more used to fine dining than casual food.
Add to that Zinos’ reoccurring back problems and Zinos’ shady brother (Moritz Bleibtreu), fresh out of prison, for some extra comedic moments.
Practice practice practice! Discover other great German-language actors and actresses previously featured.
Top photo from Paul Katzenberger, CC BY-SA 4.0