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The Edge of Heaven (international title)
Auf der anderen Seite (original title)

German promotional poster
Directed by Fatih Akın
Produced by Anka Film (Turkey),

Corazón International (Germany), Dorje Film (Italy),

Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) (Germany)
Written by Fatih Akın
Starring Nurgül Yeşilçay
Baki Davrak
Tuncel Kurtiz
Hanna Schygulla
Patrycia Ziolkowska
Nursel Köse
Music by Shantel
Cinematography Rainer Klausmann
Editing by Andrew Bird
Distributed by The Match Factory (worldwide)
Strand Releasing (USA)
Sharmill Films (Australia)
Release date(s) May 23, 2007 (Cannes Film Festival)
September 27, 2007 (Germany)
October 26, 2007 (Turkey)
February 15, 2008 (United Kingdom)
April 24, 2008 (Australia)
May 21, 2008 (United States)
Running time 122 minutes
Country Germany/Turkey
Language German/Turkish/English

The Edge of Heaven (international English title) (original title German: Auf der anderen Seite, Turkish: ''Yaşamın Kıyısında'') is a 2007 Turkish-German film written and directed by Fatih Akın. The film won the Prix du scénario at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.[1] It was selected for Germany's entry to contest at the 2007 Oscar[2] but didn't make the selection of five nominated films.

After making its worldwide debut at the Cannes Film Festival in France, the film was shown at several international film festivals. It was released in Germany on September 27, 2007.



The Edge of Heaven is played out in Turkey and Germany. The characters travel between these countries and so travel through their own lives. Akın tells the story in calm pictures, unagitated and slow-paced. The emotional key to the film is death which is faced by each protagonist in a different way. Thus those initially uncommunicative people slowly begin to uncover themselves.


Yeter's Death

Retired widower Ali, a Turkish immigrant living in the German city of Bremen, believes he has found a solution to his loneliness when he meets a Turkish prostitute, Yeter.[3] He offers her a monthly payment to stop working as a prostitute and move in with him. After receiving threats from two Turkish Muslims, she decides to accept his offer. Ali's son Nejat, a professor of German literature, does not have time to respond to the prospect of living with a woman of "easy virtue" before Ali is stricken with a heart attack. He softens to her when he discovers that she sends shoes back home to Turkey for her 27 year old daughter and wished that her daughter receive an education like him.

Back home from the hospital, Ali suspects that the other two may have become lovers. When his drunken demands of Yeter make her threaten to leave, he strikes her in frustration, accidentally killing her. Ali is sent to prison.

Nejat travels to Istanbul to search for Yeter's daughter, Ayten, and assume responsibility for her education. Unable to locate her through her family, he posts flyers of Yeter throughout the area in the hopes that it will lead to the daughter. When he posts a flyer in a small German language bookstore that happens to be for sale, he finds himself charmed into buying it.

Lotte's Death

A plainclothes officer loses his gun on the street during a riot. A hooded figure scoops it up and is pursued on foot by a battalion of uniformed officers, barely managing to hide the contraband on a random rooftop. This is Ayten, a member of a Turkish communist resistance group.

When her cell is raided, she flees Turkey and takes up a new identity with political allies in Bremen, Germany. However, even there, she has a falling out when she is unable to pay her debts, and thus finds herself on the street with barely a euro to her name. Her mother's number is lost, so she lives illegally and searches for her in local shoe shops.

Lotte, a university student, offers to help her with food, clothes, and a place to stay -- a gesture which is not particularly welcomed by her mother, Susanne. Ayten and Lotte become lovers and Lotte decides to help Ayten search for her mother. The quest is cut short when a traffic stop exposes Ayten's illegal status and she's forced to claim political asylum. Despite Susanne's financial support, Germany rules that Ayten has no legitimate fear of political persecution. She's deported and immediately imprisoned.

Lotte is devastated. She travels to Turkey to try to free Ayten, but quickly realises how little hope there is, as she is facing 15 to 20 years in jail. Over the telephone, Susanne pleads her to think of her future and return home. When Lotte refuses, her mother withdraws her financial support. Lotte gravitates to Nejat's bookstore and ends up renting a spare room from him.

Finally granted the right to visit Ayten in prison, Lotte follows her imprisoned lover's request and retrieves a gun hidden on the roof of an apartment building. Lotte's purse, with the gun inside, is snatched by some small boys. She chases them and finds them looking over the items in her purse; one boy is inspecting the gun. She demands it back, but the boy points it at her and fires, to his surprise mortally wounding her.

The Edge of Heaven (literally, From the Other Side)

Upon his release, Ali is deported to Turkey, returning to his property in Trabzon on the Black Sea coast.

After her daughter's death, Susanne goes to Istanbul to see where her daughter had been living the past few months. She meets Nejat and reads her daughter's diary; she decides to take on her daughter's mission of freeing Ayten from prison. Susanne's visit to Ayten -- an offer of forgiveness and support -- leads the younger woman to exercise her right of repentance. As a result, she wins her freedom.

Susanne asks Nejat about the story behind a Bayram they notice, learning that it commemorates Ibrahim's sacrifice of his son Ishmael. She comments that there is the same story in the Bible, where Abraham is asked to sacrifice his son Isaac. Nejat reminisces about being scared by the story as a child and asking his father if he would sacrifice him if God told him to. When asked by Susanne what his father's answer was, Nejat told her that "He would make God his enemy in order to protect me". Removing the poster of Yeter from the shop's noticeboard, Nejat now journeys to Trabzon to reconcile with his father, asking Suzanne to look after his shop while he is gone.

Susanne offers Ayten a place to stay with her at Nejat's house. Nejat's father is out fishing when he arrives, so he waits for him on the beach in Trabzon.


Turkish promotional poster
  • Tuncel Kurtiz as Ali Aksu, Turkish immigrant
  • Baki Davrak as Nejat Aksu, son of Ali, German language teacher
  • Nursel Köse as Yeter Öztürk, Turkish immigrant prostitute
  • Nurgül Yeşilçay as Ayten Öztürk, daughter of Yeter, Turkish student
  • Patrycia Ziolkowska as Charlotte "Lotte" Staub, student
  • Hanna Schygulla as Susanne Staub, mother of Lotte

Filming locations

The film was shot in Bremen and Hamburg in Germany; at Taksim and Kadıköy in Istanbul, at the Black Sea coast in Trabzon in Turkey.

Release dates

Region Date
(Cannes Film Festival)
May 23, 2007
(2007 Midnight Sun Film Festival)
October 15, 2007
(Festival Paris Cinéma)
July 5, 2007
(La Rochelle Film Festival)
July 7, 2007
(Bangkok International Film Festival)
July 25, 2007
(Cinemanila International Film Festival)
August 8, 2007
(Toronto Film Festival)
September 7, 2007
Region Date
Germany September 27, 2007
Turkey October 26, 2007
November 9, 2007
Belgium November 14, 2007
Czech Republic November 15, 2007
Hong Kong January 24, 2008
Netherlands February 7, 2008
United Kingdom February 15, 2008
Republic of China March 7, 2008
Australia April 24, 2008
United States
May 21, 2008

Critical reception

The film received generally positive reviews from Western critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 89% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 61 reviews.[4] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 86 out of 100, based on 24 reviews.[5]


Top ten lists

The film appeared on many critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2008.[6]

Awards and nominations

Following the Best Screenplay Award received at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival,[1] the film won the Lino Brocka Award in the International Cinema category at the 2007 Cinemanila International Film Festival in the Philippines. The movie also won five awards at Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival (best director, editing, supporting actor, supporting actress and special jury award).

On October 24, 2007, the European Parliament awarded its newly established LUX prize for European cinema to Fatih Akın's film.

On November 10, 2007, the film won the Critics Award at the European Cinema Festival, in Seville.

On December 1, 2007, the movie won the best screenplay award at European Film Awards, while it was also nominated for the best director and the best film.

Hanna Schygulla won the Best Supporting Actress award from the National Society of Film Critics for her role in the film. She also won the 2008 Best Supporting Actress award from the International Cinephile Society.

See also


External links

Preceded by
Cannes Film Festival Prix du scénario
Succeeded by
The Silence of Lorna
Preceded by
new creation
Lux Prize for European Cinema
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Golden Orange
Dr. Avni Tolunay Jury Special Award
for Best Picture

Succeeded by


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