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Crossing the Bridge

Director: FATIH AKIN

DENMARK • 2005. COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 139 MIN.


ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREAT CITIES COMES VIBRANTLY ALIVE THROUGH ITS MUSIC AND MUSICAL DENIZENS IN CROSSING THE BRIDGE. THIS DOCUMENTARY BY TURKISH-GERMAN DIRECTOR FATIH AKIN (HEAD-ON) IS A BELATED LOVE LETTER TO A METROPOLIS WHICH ALSO REFLECTS HIS OWN MIXED CULTURAL MAKE-UP—POISED BETWEEN EAST AND WEST, WITH INFLUENCES FROM BOTH EUROPE AND ASIA. ALEXANDER HACKE, LONG-TIME MEMBER OF GERMAN AVANT-GARDE BAND EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN, UNLOCKS SOME OF ISTANBUL’S CULTURAL SECRETS.
Checking into the venerable Grand Hôtel de Londres in Istanbul’s flavoursome Beyoglu district, Hacke first hooks up with Turkish ‘neo-psychedelic’ band Baba Zula and stands in for the band’s absent bassist. He then starts a musical journey through Turkish rap, experimental music, street music, Kurdish laments and even a couple of modern Whirling Dervishes. Intercut with these encounters and jamming sessions is footage painting the city’s bustling street life, both by day and by night, that avoids the normal tourist cliches. Once the documentary has got cultural matters off it chest, the music does most of the talking, culminating in two emotionally powerful sessions by legends of popular Turkish music: former matinee idol-cum-composer Orhan Gencebay and legendary songstress Sezen Aksu. —Derek Elley.

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