The Edge Of Heaven (Mongrel, 2007) D: Fatih Akin, w/ Nurgül Yesilçay, Baki Davrak. Rating: NNNN; DVD package: NNNN
Ultimately, writer/director Fatih Akin's story doesn't work, a fact he acknowledges in the making-of doc, but that doesn't destroy the pleasures of his complex, thoughtful and surprising examination of love and loneliness.
An aging Turkish widower living in Germany takes a Turkish prostitute into his home. Her sudden death sends his semi-estranged son to seek her adult daughter in Istanbul. But the daughter, hunted by the government, flees to Germany, which launches another round of emotion-driven cross-border quests.
This summary sounds contrived, but Akin delivers acting, visuals, pacing and script with such fluid naturalness that all the movement and the sense of people creating emotional attachments from whatever comes to hand seem both surprising and inevitable.
The 56-minute making-of doc functions more as a commentary. Akin narrates most of it himself, taking all the time he needs for what he cares about - casting, rehearsals and story - and illustrating his points with film clips and on-set footage. This method offers more depth than the usual making-of doc and spares us the tedium that besets most scene-by-scene commentaries.
EXTRAS Making-of doc. Widescreen. English, French audio and subtitles.