Turkish director Fatih Akin has posed some supreme questions about cultural identity in his career. The nihilistic existentialism of Head-On (2004) focused on two people of Turkish descent living in Germany and their rebellion against the traditions of their Muslim upbringing, while Crossing the Bridge, Akin’s documentary about the vibrant music scene in Istanbul, took a stunningly poetic approach to an ancient city’s new traditions.

The Edge of Heaven, released in 2007, sort of bridges the gap between those two films, focusing again on Turkish families in Germany and their returns (for various reasons, some romantic, some tragic) to their homeland. When a young German lesbian falls in love with a female ex-con from Turkey, their families become intertwined as some excruciating circumstances throw their respective lives into chaos. If you’re unfamiliar with Akin’s work, don’t go look him up and go see his most recent film, the puzzlingly goofy Soul Kitchen (2009); for some reason, the critics ate that one up. This director is best when he is serious. 

The Edge of Heaven (2007)
Friday, September 30
6 p.m.

Mechanics’ Institute Library
57 Post St., San Francisco
Tickets $10