Gegen die wand (Against the wall, 2003) was the first Fatih Akin movie I saw. His two central characters -so full of demons, so incapable of redemption, so capable of showing life’s toughness through body wounds- surprised me. The story of the immigrant who seeks self growth or confronts xenophobia, Cahit and Sibel were the uprooted, the incarnate wound of an existential condition. Absolute outcasts: Turks in Germany. The amount of awards that the movie obtained, show how many of us saw in him a director capable of creating endearing beings. To mention some: The Berlinale’s Golden Bear, The People’s Choice Award at The European Film Awards, the German Cinema director and the Goya to the best European film.
Fatih Akin had found in the creation of his female character that there is “certain pressure, certain dogmatism, that the women of Turkish origin face more here than in Turkey;” the nuance is important because it allows a different view, a German view, and at the same time, a Turkish one. The outcome is some certain schizophrenia.
Prior to Gegen die wand, Fatih Akin had made 4 long features, the documentary (Denk ich an Deutschland), a romantic comedy (I’m Juli), a thriller, (Kurz and schmerzlos), and a story about Italian migrants in Germany (Solino). Against the wall allowed him to get close to Turkey in a different way, in his next project (Crossing the Bridge: the Sound of Istanbul) he rescues the musicians of that city; A la orilla del cielo (Auf der anderen seite) is in Carlos Bonfil’s opinion, a “stupendous drama about incommunication;” in Soul kitchen he offers a less dark portrait and we have instead, a homage to the wonders of good cuisine. In The Cut he recreates the friendship between two people who in spite of their wounds, learn that neither the skin color nor the ethnic origin are what divides.
The filmmaker has participated in multiple collective films: Visions of Europe, New York I love you and Deutschland 09. At his 47 he is an author who always seeks an encounter with the public, his shots can be seemingly simple, nevertheless, in each scene we can find the quietness of the background and the tension of his creatures who lurk in search of their own identity and hopes. In this world that gets filled with walls, the work of a filmmaker reveals its fleeting expiry date.
— Gerardo Salcedo Romero