FATIH AKIN, cinematographer:
Everything is important in a film plot, because even the most miniscule detail suggests certain indications to anticipate, certain moments of readiness to understand the story, to foresee the end, and the viewers are often so inadvertently occupied with the end, that they unfortunately miss the process of contemplation, perception. They miss the transience of the plot twist, the wondrous change of the characters from heroes into villains and vice versa, they miss the things happening in between the dialogues, they miss the film, and it is exactly there, in-between the dialogues that the film hides. Those directors, those cinema artists who when “grabbing” your attention also “steal” your heart are rare, so rare, nearly endemic. Yet, it is true, they might be rare, but they do exist. One of them is the German enfant terrible of Turkish origin, the always smiling Fatih Akin, director, producer, actor… an excellent DJ as well, some would say. If with his first short film “Sensin -You are the one” he won the German audiences and critics, with “Weed” he shone brightly on the international cinema scene. Aged less than 25, his dream had become reality. In 1998, with his first long feature film ”Kurz und Schmerzloss” he won the Bronze Leopard in Locarno, and that same year he was also the winner of the prestigious German award for Best Young Bavarian Director. His unpretentiousness in approaching the essence of the film story lulls you in, only to send you a “meteor” a few moments later and shatter your ease, so that you are stunned, not aware of how it all came to be, trying to go a few moments back… but the baring of the characters continues with the same intensity and it goes straight to the bones, it keeps hurting. In each of his films he completely hands you over to the basic human instincts in expressing love, joy, friendship, hatred, mercy, tolerance, trust, mistrust, revenge, survival… and most certainly pain, as the ancient precursor to any emotion. Akin builds the plot like a tide, like an equation that you don’t know how to solve, but gets under your skin, and you obediently accept it and let it spill over until it reaches a state of dramatic self-criticism. He is a rare, I’d dare say, the only cinema artist who constructs self-criticism up to a level of a state of emergency of the human consciousness, of his social engagement, of a geometry of reasoning. Here I particularly refer to all his stories which observe the German and Turkish, and even Balkan character from a historic and contemporary aspect. And these dualities overlap, separate, merge in an attempt to reach the moment of universal happiness of unhappiness. In his films Fatih Akin perceives the states of happiness and unhappiness as complementary and bound by destiny, his characters are extremely meticulously created in their manner of movement, in their approach, their expression. His way of work with the actors makes them so close to you that you often recognize yourself in them and get angry at yourself, you become ashamed of yourself, you question yourself. And just like that, he achieves what he intended to do, to put you in a constant state of self-examination, where you examine your intentions, actions, feelings. – Starting from 2002 with “Solino”, Fatih begins a new collaboration with the exceptional cinematographer Rainer Klausmann, the two of them soon becoming a leading European and international tandem, and he personally starts a new auteur odyssey in this method of writing and directing, where the meaning of the ordinary human in the creation of the envisaged multicultural society comes to the fore. With the film “Head-on” (for which cinematographer Rainer Klausmann was awarded with the Golden Camera 300 at the “Manaki Brothers” Festival) the tandem continued to build its cult status, especially among the younger audiences and this film earned them the Golden Bear for Best Film and the European Film Award in 2004. They continue with the film “The Edge of Heaven” (Rainer Klausmann was in the Competition at the “Manaki Brothers” Festival) which earned Akin the Best Script Award in Cannes in 2007. “Soul Kitchen” was given the special jury recognition at the Venice Film Festival in 2009, and in 2012 Akin challenged us with the long feature documentary “Garbage in the Garden of Eden” while with the epic film “Cut”, starting from his Turkish background as a moral imperative, Akin boldly absolves the historic syndrome of the genocide over the Armenians. Their next film is the engaged drama “In the Fade” (cinematographer Rainer Klausmann won the Silver Camera 300 in the 2017 Competition of the “Manaki Brothers”, and in 2018, at the 39 “Manaki Brothers” he was a member of the international jury), with which they proceed to win the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film in 2017. Their latest film “The Golden Glove” (2019), inspired by a true event, based on the novel by Heinz Strunk, shocked both the critics and audiences in Berlin and left no one indifferent. Evil lurks within us, as a germ present in everyone, and you just don’t know what and how it could be set off. A bizarre and difficult film, which is impossible not to experience viscerally. Every neighborhood has its villain, but not every neighborhood has its monster. In Fatih’s films the monster is the darkness in our hearts that could eat us all up, literally. Yet, apart from this monster, there are also these other ones, the innocent ones, who are becoming rarer and rarer. Through the most innocent actions of an ordinary human we get a glimpse into the essence of our existence, the precious little happiness we need for our worldview to be filled with colour, with the horizon that we have always dreamed of; or the thin crevice of hatred that destroys us and fills our hearts full of black tulips. We all have a favourite film by the Akin-Klausmann tandem, I have dear friends who fell in love the night they watched their film and then often hummed the tune. They are still humming to that tune, and I enjoy watching and listening to them. I also have my own favourite film by Fatih Akin, but I won’t tell you which.