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No place like home? Or impossible homecomings in the films of Fatih Akin

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Abstract:

Fatih Akin, one of the most prominent directors of contemporary German-Turkish cinema, describes himself as a German filmmaker and at least until the international success of Gegen die Wand/Head-On (2004) downplayed the relevance of his ethnic background for his creative career. And yet, his feature films exhibit most of the characteristics associated with accented cinema, a type of cinema which has been identified by Hamid Naficy as an aesthetic response to displacement through exile, migration or diaspora. The underlying theme of Akin's films is the migrant's experience of rootlessness and the redemptive promise inherent in the return to ones Heimat. This paper examines chronotopes of homeland in Kurz und schmerzlos/Short Sharp Shock (1998), Solino (2002) and Head-On and asks to what extent the preoccupation with Heimat, alongside the eclectic mix of generic templates which have informed Akin's films, underscore the cultural hybridity of his oeuvre.

Keywords: Fatih Akin; German-Turkish cinema; Heimatfilm; accented cinema; diaspora

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ncin.4.3.141_1

Affiliations: University of London.

Publication date: February 9, 2007

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  • The journal aims to provide a platform for the study of new forms of cinematic practice and fresh approaches to cinemas hitherto neglected in western scholarship. It particularly welcomes scholarship that does not take existing paradigms and theoretical conceptualisations as given; rather, it anticipates submissions that are refreshing in approach and exhibit a willingness to tackle cinematic practices that are still in the process of development into something new.  
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