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UCL Mellon Programme: Interdisciplinary Seminar 2008-2009

Seminar: 29 January 2009 (Chair: Dr Cüneyt Çakirlar, more ... )

Nomadic Discourses in post-90s Turkish Cinema

A screening and discussion of:

Gegen die Wand (Head On) (dir. Fatih Akin, 2004)


Gegen die Wand starts with the encounter of Sibel with Cahit in a psychiatric clinic in Germany. Sibel’s self-inflicted wounds and Cahit’s drinking and cocaine problem lead them end up in the clinic. After Sibel realizes that Cahit is of Turkish decent, ‘ Sibel begs him to enter into a Scheinehe , or marriage of convenience with her so that she may escape her oppressive, controlling home life. His Turkish roots make him an acceptable choice for a husband in the eyes of her parents, although he is a self-styled Penner, or bum, with a drinking problem and addiction to cocaine’ (Johnson 2006: 30). Cahit accepts Sibel’s proposal but the marriage transforms into a passionate relationship of love. Through the encounter between the exilic and the diasporic, Akin narrates a story about the burden of identity, ‘third space’ and homecoming.

Suggested Readings

Arslan, Savas. ‘Head On, Head Off: How the Media Covered a Former Porn Actress’s Rise To Stardom’, Film International 36, pp. 62-71.

Berghahn, Daniela. ‘ No Place Like Home? Or Impossible Homecomings in the Films of Fatih Akin’, New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film 4:3, 2006, 141-57.

Burns, Rob. ‘Towards a Cinema of Cultural Hybridity: Turkish-German Filmmakers and the Representation of Alterity’, Debatte: Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe 15:1, 2007, pp. 3-24.

Petek, Polona. ‘Enabling Collisions: Re-thinking Multiculturalism through Fatih Akin’s Gegen die Wand/Head On’, Studies in European Cinema 4:3, 2007, pp. 177-86.

Romhild, Regina. ‘Global Heimat Germany: Migration and the Transnationalization of the Nation-State’, Transit 1:1, 2005, pp. 1-8.

This page last modified 26 September, 2012 by UCL Mellon Admin

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