Fatih Akin: "Dying to live"
ChroniquesDuVasteMonde.com: "Against the Wall" was initially rejected at the Berlinale, the film was considered an outsider in the competition. They referred to him as a "small, dirty, rocking film". Why did he win anyway?
Fatih Akin: Apparently our "small, dirty, rocking film" is so universally important, powerful and convincing that it arrives to the public as well as to the international press and international filmmakers. "Against the Wall" won not only the Golden Bear, but also the Prize of International Film Criticism. This is extremely rare. I think he is a very honest movie and that has been rewarded by the jury.
ChroniquesDuVasteMonde.com: They were so concerned about honesty: they let Turkish women read their screenplay, they did street castings, the performers wear their own outfits. How realistic has your movie become?
Fatih Akin: Realism in film is always a style issue, because film is always a lie somewhere. I believe "Against the Wall" has managed to meet the requirements of this stylistic device - through the original locations, their own clothes, the sparse use of light and staging.
ChroniquesDuVasteMonde.com: Both main characters return to Turkey. Is this the solution to the cultural conflicts that Turks in Germany have?
Fatih Akin: No, no way. The two main characters are outsiders, they are not representative of the Turkish community. Although Sibel flies to Turkey in the story, but if she is happy there, the film tells only limited. And Cahit is still restless, he moves on. It's about self-discovery, and I doubt that self-discovery has a local framework.
ChroniquesDuVasteMonde.com: So no "back to the roots" with the German Turks ...
Fatih Akin: I do not know. It's hard for me to give an overall picture of my generation because I'm not representative myself. I'm a freethinker, an individualist, an artist, I'm halfway intellectual. That's why I'm nothing better than an underground worker in Duisburg - but I know too little about the community as a whole. In any case, the Turks are all very open and integrated in my environment.
ChroniquesDuVasteMonde.com: The film gives the impression that Turkish women live more freely in Istanbul than in Hamburg. Are the traditions of the Turks in Germany stronger because they have to defend them against external influences?
Fatih Akin: I think so. Also because German Turks have a completely different socialization behind them than Turks. Our parents tried to give us the values that they used to get. That's certainly true in Turkey, but there is a permanent development over there. There is a more collective self-image, more enlightened and modern than the Turks here. That's how it seems to me.
ChroniquesDuVasteMonde.com: Is the title of the film "Against the Wall" a metaphor for young Turks in Germany who run against the traditions of their parents? A pretty pessimistic picture ...
Fatih Akin: That's a matter of consideration. You do not run against a wall to destroy yourself, but to break through the wall and change something.
ChroniquesDuVasteMonde.com: Still there is a lot of self-destruction in the movie.
Fatih Akin: But ultimately it's all about life and not dying. This has this masochistic quality: I'm in pain so I know I live ...
ChroniquesDuVasteMonde.com: Sibel, your rebellious protagonist, decides at the end for the family. Is that the only place she can pass as a Turkish? Does she surrender?
Fatih Akin: It's a form of surrender or more a transformation. The idea was that before Sibel decides on the family, she "dies" on the street and a new life begins. Of course, this life is different than the previous one. We do not use death in this movie as an end, but as a metamorphosis, as a rebirth, you die and a new being begins.
ChroniquesDuVasteMonde.com: This theme runs through the whole movie, even at the beginning the doctor tells Cahit about his suicide attempt: "Stop your life, but you do not have to die for it ..."
Fatih Akin: Exactly.
ChroniquesDuVasteMonde.com: You have dedicated the Golden Bear to your wife. Is it a coincidence that you do not read much about her?
Fatih Akin: Monique says she has no interest in publicity. As what? As a woman by my side? She rejects interview requests because she does not feel the need to be in the public eye, which I find perfectly legitimate.But I can say that about Monique: that without her today I would not be where I am.
Fatih Akin: That's a ChroniquesDuVasteMonde question now, right?
ChroniquesDuVasteMonde.com: I'm asking, because that sounds like a cliché.
Fatih Akin: Monique was there before that started with the whole filming. Since she is out there, it is always good to have her eyes on things as well. For example, when I say, "Oh, they are awfully nice these people, they're great, did you see how nice they are?" She says, "They're just nice, because you're successful." It is important to protect this view. But of course that's just one example of why Monique is so important to me.
The movie "Against the wall"
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