Watching Faith Akin's newest film, The Edge of Heaven, I got that weird feeling that you can get during any film festival -- that you're seeing so many 'innovative' movies that you start putting quote marks around 'innovative.' Akin's latest movie is about a father and son, and a mother and a daughter; it's also about the gulf and gap between Europe and Turkey, between the West and Islam, between repentance and forgiveness. The Edge of Heaven is strong and artful and well-made, but it also feels like its unpredictability is actually predictable, that its unconventional narrative is, in fact, conventional. Akin is himself a child of Turkish parents who grew up in Germany, like his lead character Nejat, and, like his film Head-On, The Edge of Heaven's informed by that perspective, seeking out the universal in the specifics of the story.
College professor Nejat (Baki Davrak) has a simple life -- classes, work, the occasional visit to see his father Ali (Tuncel Kurtiz). Ali is a widower, and one day makes an unusual proposition to a prostitute in Bremen's red light district, Yeter (Nursel Köse): Move in with him, so that she'll make money and he won't be alone. And she does. Nejat's not crazy about this -- nor should he be, as Ali and Yeter's arrangement becomes curdled and complicated. After a brief moment of anger on Ali's part results in Yeter's unintended death, Nejat tries to find the daughter she was sending money to back home in Turkey, Ayten (Nurgül Yescilay). Nejat doesn't know what Ayten even looks like, but he's trying to find her.