Evaluating Auf der Anderen Seite in Terms of Spatial
Change and Turkish German Identity...
ODTÜ Sosyal Bilimler /
Yüksek Lisans Öğrencisi
|(This is the first part of
the article Evaluating Auf der Anderen Seite in Terms of Spatial Change
and Turkish German Identity Representations )
Evaluating Auf der Anderen Seite in Terms of Spatial Change and Turkish
German Identity Representations
Turkish German cinema tries to stave its shell by representing a more
multi-faceted image of Turkish immigrants as well as Turkish German
spaces and overcome the stereotypes that we have been watching for
thirty years. For sure, Fatih Akın is one of the most salient figures of
that era with his peculiar style and reinterpretation of the notions
like being inbetween, victimization, cultural conflict and communication.
In this respect, Auf der Anderen Seite could be considered as the most
successful work of Fatih Akın because it goes beyond the deconstruction
of the cliches of Turkish-German space theretoTurkish German identity
and common affections as well as problems of the humanity prevail all
other kind of contradictions due to ethnic/cultural differences.
One important character we should focus on is Nejat. Nejat represents a
new type of Turk that we have not seen in the other Turkish German
movies as well as in other movies of Fatih Akın before. He is a middle
class Turkish German professor in a German university. He is not a
victim because of his Turkishness and doesn�t have any problem with
German language and culture. He is neither assimilated nor discriminated.
He knows the skills of communication in both cultural spaces but he does
not show a banal nationalist behaviour. It could be said that there is a
consciousness of being inbetween but the romanticization of being
inbetween is minimal when we look at the features of Nejat. This is also
true for other characters, even for Ali who is a first generation
Turkish German. But Nejat adds a new dimension to Turkish German figures
and I think that multi-class representation of Turks is a revolutionary
attempt for Turkish German cinema. It is revolutionary because it
extends the limits of ethnic/cultural conflicts and opens a new space
for alternative representations such as class-based conflicts, internal
conflicts of the heros and political conflicts which are more universal
Another point is the change of stereotypical representation of Turkey as
a place of hope and ultimate happiness. Even the process of development
in Turkish-German space and its reflection to Turkish German identity is
observed peculiarly in Fatih Akın cinema, it is obvious that there is a
shift to a more realistic representation of Turkey. In Kurz und
Schmerzlos, Gabriel was decided to go to Turkey after killing the mafia
boss and we didn�t know anything about his doubtful future in Turkey. In
Gegen die Wand, Cahit was telling to Şeref that he would go to Turkey in
order to find Sibel. Again it was a dramatic scene and Cahit would
search for happiness in Turkey like Gabriel who was also searching for
happiness in Turkey although his departure was an escape.
However, we have also witnessed Cahit�s first and perhaps the most
significant frustration in the homeland. Sibel did not join him when he
was going to Mersin (his hometown). So, the representation of Turkey as
a space of conflict and problems as well as hope has started with Gegen
die Wand and deepened in Auf der Anderen Seite. Auf der Anderen Seite is
also the eyewitness and participation of Germans to the Turkish space
for the first time because of several problems. It is clear that this
vision of Turkey is very much compatible with the reality of life rather
than the depiction of a desired land especially for the Turkish Germans
who could not be successful in Germany.
We may say that the representation of Turkish space becomes also a
hybrid in which hope and happiness intermingle with sorrow and
disappointment. Fictional space in which all positive meanings are
attributed to Turkey starts to be realized and neutralized by the
director. But it is important to indicate that Turkish and German spaces
are not even stephen in Gegen die Wand. Turkish space is shown in the
last twenty five minutes of the movie and we see rapid changes in
Sibel�s and Cahit�s lives. It is like an accelerated version of the
movie. But in Auf der Anderen Seite, there is an equilibrium and
interaction between the spaces. Also dead bodies change space as well as
living ones. (After Lotte�s and Yeter�s death, their tombs are sent to
their homeland). They both intensively search for a new life for
themselves in other land but they fail and turn to their homeland as
dead. This is because they were very embedded to these spaces (perhaps
it was their best chance to change their lives) so that only their death
caused a return to homeland.
This kind of representation shows us how personal aims and dreams as
well as tragedies could easily surmount national boundaries. In that
sense, Auf der Anderen Seite could be considered as a progressive step
towards a more realistic and hybrid representation of Turkish- German
space and Turkish German identity...
Fachinger, P. (2007). A New Kind of Creative Energy: Yadé Karas Selam
Berlin and Fatih Akins Kurz und schmerzlos and Gegen die Wand. German
Life and Letters, 60(2), 242-60.
Naficy, H. (2001). An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking.
Oxford: Princeton University Press.
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