Fatih Akin • Director
At Cannes to change the world
He became known worldwide for Head-On, a story of love and losers. Now Fatih Akin, born in Germany to Turkish parents, is attempting to tackle themes such as culture, political militancy and death with his first feature film The Edge of Heaven [+see also:
interview: Fatih Akin
interview: Klaus Maeck
film profile], in competition at the Cannes Film Festival.
Who was your inspiration in creating the characters in your film?
Above all, they reflect a part of me, something that changes every day, because I change my mind every day. And then I was inspired by the people I met during my trip to Turkey for the documentary Crossing the Bridge - The Sound of Istanbul [+see also:
film profile], people who are trying to change the world with music. Activism and political passion can be very sexy.
How did you choose the actors?
I wrote the character of Susanne with Hanna Schygulla in mind. I had her in my mind when I was thinking of this mother who goes to Turkey in search of her daughter. I had met her in Belgrade in 2004 and she bewitched me, I wanted to work with her one day. That which Hanna was Fassbinder, Tuncel Kurtiz was for the Kurdish director Yilmaz Güney, from whom I feel like I come [artistically]. But I didn’t choose these actors because they’re icons. To find the other, I watched a lot of Turkish films.
What did you want the Turkish immigrant in Germany to be a university professor?
That’s somewhat my own story. The Fine Arts Academy of Hamburg asked me to teach there. The characters in my previous films were all criminals, marginalised, proletariats. But there are also intellectuals among immigrants in Germany.
The young professor gives his father a book, as a gift….
Yes, literature and culture play an important role in this film. Culture can change the world. The book is a fundamental image in the conflict between the father and son. I didn’t know which book to show, it was a difficult choice. Siddhartha? The Hobbit? Something by Dostoyevsky? In the end, I chose The Blacksmith’s Daughter by Selim Ozdogan. He’s a friend and I wanted to advertise his work!
What do you think is your particularity with respect to other directors?
Scorsese says "I’m always searching for a master". For that same reason I seem a film a day, and hope to make films that reflect upon cinema my entire life.
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