Head-On (Gegen die Wand) movie still
Head-On (Gegen die Wand) movie poster

Head-On (Gegen die Wand) (2004)

Drama, Romance

Director: Fatih Akin
Writer: Fatih Akin
Starring: Birol Ünel, Güven Kiraç, Zarah Jane McKenzie, Stefan Gebelhoff

Two German Turkish immigrants meet in a psychiatric institution in Hamburg, after both trying to take their lives. Cahit (Birol Ünel) is a 40-year-old alcoholic with suicidal tendencies and Sibel (former porn actress Sibel Kekilli, who also plays Shae in Game of Thrones) is a self-destructive woman in her early twenties, living in an extremely old-fashioned patriarchal Turkish Orthodox family that holds dearly to its traditions. A strong love story ensues between the two, after Simbel proposes a sham marriage to Cahit, so she would be able to escape the prison of her devout, conservative family. Loneliness, jealousy, lust slowly add up and their relationship, triggering a series of unfortunate events between the two lovers, that all play out bittersweetly in Istanbul.

German filmmaker of Turkish origin Fatih Akin won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival with Gegen die Wand (Against the Wall, the verbatim translation of the title in German) and has made quite a name for himself in international cinema with the film, becoming one of the most influential European directors.

With breathtaking performances from both of its protagonists, offering plenty of violence, sadness and humor, with a very tasteful use of music throughout the movie and a tantalizing and toe-tapping punk-electronica soundtrack, Head-On is one of those films that we guarantee will be liked by mostly everyone who sees it.

Plot summary from IMDb: In 'Gegen die Wand' Cahit, a 40-something male from Mersin in Turkey has removed everything Turkish from his life. He has become an alcoholic drug addict and at the start of the movie wants to end it all. Sibel a 20-something female from Hamburg wishes to please her Turkish parents yet yearns for freedom. She has had her nose broken by her brother for being seen holding hands with a boy and yet she can not break her mother's heart and run away. She too attempts suicide and she first approaches Cahit there at the Hospital. Sibel asks Cahit to marry her, as she believes this to be the way out of her parent's house. She promises Cahit that their relationship will be like roommates, not like a married couple. The film follows Sibel and Cahit as they get married, become closer and eventually fall in love.

Awards: 25 wins & 13 nominations.
Runtime: 121 min



Subscribe to our mailing list to get the newest movie updates to your email inbox.