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Edge of Heaven, The (DVD Review)

14 Sep, 2008 By: Laura Tiffany

Prebook 9/18/08; Street 10/14/08
Box Office $0.7 million
$27.99 DVD

The Edge of Heaven takes place on the ordinary streets of Germany and Turkey, where an old man visits a hooker, a young illegal immigrant begs a college student for money to buy food, and where these stories believably and tragically intersect.

The two figures who imbue the film with the most humanity don’t even figure into the original equation, but it’s them — the old man’s son (Baki Davrak) and the student’s mother (Hanna Schygulla) — who will stay with you long after the film ends.

The film, which won the best screenplay award at Cannes last year for writer-director Fatih Akin (Head-On and Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul) and was Germany’s official entry to the Academy Awards, examines profoundly personal matters — love, family, grief, forgiveness — while touching on broader issues such as politics, dissent, religion, and both being an immigrant and understanding the immigrants who surround you.

Akin uses an interesting device to tell his story — the film is set in three acts and the titles of the first and second sections give away very huge developments. The third, titled “The Edge of Heaven,” is deliberately vague, as open to interpretation as are the fates of these characters.

Multilingual and multicultural, The Edge of Heaven touches on universal issues, similarly to Babel or 21 Grams. It will make you sad, but also give you hope that, as these wonderful, very human characters move on, so can all people when faced with tragic circumstances.

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