Archive of films Head On / Gegen die Wand

2003, 120 min

Section: Horizons
Year: 2004

 A Turkish man named Cahil Tomruk lives in Hamburg. After a car accident he ends up at a hospital where a young Turkish woman beseeches him to marry her – on paper only. Her orthodox family forbids her to live the free life of a European woman, and the only way out is through marriage to a man of the same faith. Berlin 2004: Golden Bear.


Cahil Tomruk lives a day-to-day existence in Hamburg. After driving his car into a wall and almost killing himself, he ends up in a psychiatric hospital where his doctor tries to help him out of the vicious cycle he´s caught in. There, in one of the hospital corridors, Cahil meets a young Turkish woman named Sibel who tried to commit suicide. Her family subscribes to the most orthodox views of a woman´s place in society, but Sibel desperately longs for the freedom which Europeans take for granted. She sees a formal marriage with a man of Turkish origin as the only route to take, so she asks Cahil for help. But to extricate herself from her family constraints is not as easy has she had imagined, since no-one is able to uproot completely from the environment he grew up in. However, Sibel has a burning desire to find freedom and to overstep the confines of nationality and religion, and she also longs to find love. Director Fatih Akin, who himself has personal experience as a descendant of Turkish parents growing up in Germany, has breathed exceptional authenticity and realism into this bitter love story.

About the director

Fatih Akin (b. 1973), writer, director and actor, was born into a Turkish family in Hamburg. There he graduated in film from the Hochschule für Bildende Künste. Since 1993 he has worked for Wüste Filmproduction. In addition to acting in his own films (and in others´, e.g. Back in Trouble, Black Souls, Planet of the Cannibals, A Goddamn Job), he has made numerous music videos. After the shorts Sensin... You´re the One! (Sensin - Du bist es!, 1995) and Weed (Getürkt, 1996), he debuted in 1997 with the feature Short Sharp Shock (Kurz und schmerzlos). Then followed In July (Im Juli, 2000, winner of various Audience Awards), the documentary Wir haben vergessen zurückzukehren and Solino. Head On (Gegen die Wand) won this year in the competition at Berlin.

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Horizons
Director: Fatih Akin
Screenplay: Fatih Akin
Dir. of Photography: Rainer Klausmann
Music: Klaus Maeck
Editor: Andrew Bird
Producer: Ralph Schwingel, Stefan Schubert
Production: Wüste Filmproduktion
Cast: Birol Ünel, Sibel Kekilli, Catrin Striebeck, Güven Kirac, Meltem Cumbul


Stefanie Zeitler


Thorsten Schaumann

Michael Weber

Buyer, Sales Agent

Tobias Pausinger


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