7.9/10
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Head-On (2004)

Gegen die Wand (original title)
With the intention to break free from the strict familial restrictions, a suicidal young woman sets up a marriage of convenience with a forty-year-old addict, an act that will lead to an outburst of envious love.

Director:

Fatih Akin

Writer:

Fatih Akin (book)
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Popularity
4,836 ( 46)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Birol Ünel ... Cahit
Güven Kiraç Güven Kiraç ... Seref
Zarah Jane McKenzie Zarah Jane McKenzie ... Barfrau in der Fabrik (as Zarah McKenzie)
Stefan Gebelhoff Stefan Gebelhoff ... Nico
Catrin Striebeck Catrin Striebeck ... Maren
Francesco Fiannaca Francesco Fiannaca ... Mann am Tresen
Mona Mur Mona Mur ... Stammkundin Zoe Bar
Sibel Kekilli ... Sibel
Ralph Misske ... Patient 1 (Psychiatrie)
Philipp Baltus ... Patient 2 (Psychiatrie)
Hermann Lause Hermann Lause ... Dr. Schiller
Karin Niwiger Karin Niwiger ... Kassiererin (Psychiatrie)
Demir Gökgöl Demir Gökgöl ... Yunus Güner (Vater)
Cem Akin Cem Akin ... Yilmaz Güner (Bruder)
Aysel Iscan Aysel Iscan ... Birsen Güner (Mutter)
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Storyline

In 'Gegen die Wand' Cahit, a 40-something male from Mersin in Turkey has removed everything Turkish from his life. He has become an alcoholic drug addict and at the start of the movie wants to end it all. Sibel a 20-something female from Hamburg wishes to please her Turkish parents yet yearns for freedom. She has had her nose broken by her brother for being seen holding hands with a boy and yet she can not break her mother's heart and run away. She too attempts suicide and she first approaches Cahit there at the Hospital. Sibel asks Cahit to marry her, as she believes this to be the way out of her parent's house. She promises Cahit that their relationship will be like roommates, not like a married couple. The film follows Sibel and Cahit as they get married, become closer and eventually fall in love. Written by Serena P.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Raw, Powerful, Extraordinary... A Love Story of Surprisingly Epic Proportions! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong graphic sexuality, pervasive language, some brutal violence and drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Germany]

Country:

Germany | Turkey

Language:

German | Turkish | English

Release Date:

11 March 2004 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Head-On See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The taxi drivers in Istanbul were originally cast the other way round: The "Bavarian" was supposed to pick up Sibel, and the other one to fetch Cahit from the airport. See more »

Goofs

The psychiatrist at the beginning of the film tells Cahit about a song by the band The The containing the line "If you can't change the world, change your world". The actual quote (from the song "Lonely Planet", included in the album "Dusk") is "If you can't change the world, change yourself". See more »

Quotes

Cahit: Punk is not dead!
Sibel: Punk is not dead!
See more »

Crazy Credits

When it comes to Special Thanks, there's a name: Arsen Lüpen. Arsène Lupin is a fictional character, created by the French writer Maurice Leblanc. See more »

Connections

References Cholera Street (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Ho Ho
( K/T: Rowland S. Howard (as Roland Howard), Genevieve McGuckin )
Performed by The Birthday Party
With kind permission from Mute Songs Ltd. and The Birthday Party Ltd.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Harsh, Gritty, Tough...Very Moving Film!
21 March 2006 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

'Gegen die Wand' in German, 'Duvara karsi' in Turkish, or 'HEAD-ON' in English is an explosive drama written and directed by Faith Akin, a movie that may be tough to watch, but a movie that has enormous impact. While other films have successfully addressed the particular problems that the immigrant Turkish community in Germany face, few have come as close to examining all sides of the on-going issues of displacement and the effects of familial dispersal in the face of a new culture.

Cahit (Birol Ünel) is a thirty-something lost soul, drinking and snorting himself into oblivion over the loss of his beloved wife. He lives in a slum, spends all his time in sleazy bars getting beaten up for inappropriate behavior until one night he drunkenly drives into a wall (?suicidal?) and ends up in a hospital where he 'meets' Sibel (Sibel Kekilli), a young woman who has again attempted suicide as an escape from her strict family's prevention of her having a life. Hearing Cahit is Turkish, Sibel nonchalantly suggests they 'marry': Sibel's only way to escape her family would be to find a Turkish husband. Though grossly mismatched, the two agree to an 'open marriage', they satisfy Sibel's family, and move in together. Sibel cooks and cleans Cahit's hovel, and then goes out and sleeps around. This arrangement eventually causes problems for each of them and Sibel moves to Istanbul to escape the horrors of the life she has chosen. Once alone, Cahit is confronted with the reality that Sibel is the only path to salvation for his tragic life and the story proceeds - or rather speed drives - its way to a heartrending finish.

The characters in the film are generally unlikable sorts, especially Cahit, but each actor does so well allowing us to observe the dreary world that faces immigrants in a fractured society that we end up having an amazing amount of compassion for their character creations. Director Akin makes this two-hour plus drama speed by with such solid purpose that it seems a short film. There is considerable nudity and the sexual encounters may be a problem for some viewers, but Akin's cinematographer Rainer Klausmann makes everything work toward the ultimate message of the film. An interesting touch is Akin's choice of weaving a chamber music group of a female vocalist with Turkish instrumentalists as a chorus to comment on the action and keep us mindful that, though the film for the most part is set in Germany, this is a very Turkish story! Grady Harp


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