These are the exact themes that Fatih Atkin's The Edge of Heaven explores -- how death and sadness can bring people closer together.
The film is a prime example of beautiful storytelling. The story begins when an elderly man named Ali (Tuncel Kurtiz) befriends a prostitute named Yeter (Nursel Kose.) Ali, widowed and lonely, enjoys Yeter's company and tells her that he will double her salary if she chooses to come live with him. She agrees, and moves in with Ali and his son Nejat (Baki Davrak), who is a college professor. Where as Ali is a very crude and reactionary man, Nejat is very calm, respectful and intelligent.
The trio are all Turkish but live in Bremen, Germany. It turns out that Yeter has a daughter, Ayten (Nurgul Yesilcay) who she hasn't seen in years. She lives in Istanbul but she doesn't know how to track her. Nejat, who takes a liking to Yeter, travels to Istanbul to find her.
The movie is told in two "chapters," and each one is given a title of "The Death of ____" which lists which character is going to die. It obviously plays as a spoiler, but the movie was never going for suspense and surprise. The purpose of the movie is to show how the characters react to the death. In this case, it motivates them to seek human connection.
The movie's title, The Edge of Heaven, is a commentary on the feeling that one attains when death stares them right in the eye. How they behave in these circumstances is the essence of human nature that Akin, who wrote the script, tried to capture, and does so resplendently. Another theme of the film that derives from this is one of forgiveness.
|Patrycia Ziolkowska and Nurgul Yesilcay in The Edge of Heaven.|
The film contains some beautiful cinematography of Turkish and German cities and landscapes, but the whole movie is a success all around. From the script to the acting, the whole film is an experience to behold. Davrak, as Nejat, was exceptionally proficient in his role.
Though The Edge of Heaven revolves around death, it never gets too existential or religious. It simply tells a story, using a technique that is neither uncommon or overused, but does so in a tasteful way. It's a movie that asks the same questions we all ask, without providing any real answers, all while taking us to the edge of Heaven and back.