Local and Transnational Claims in the Films of Fatih Akin: Recognition and the Gaze at the Body in Akin and Fassbinder’s Films

Petra Landfester


Fatih Akin heads the newest wave of prize-winning filmmakers in Germany with his productions, which often rely upon chronotopes such as rootlessness and homecoming to increase the marketability of films within the realm of what Hamid Naficy termed ‘accented cinema,’ films portraying “an aesthetic response to displacement through exile, migration or diaspora.” However, Akin moves beyond those themes and plays with expectations around raced and gendered bodies particularly with his casting choices. Akin’s films depict bodies that elicit visceral responses from the audience that have allowed him to be viewed as more than a mere “representative of Turkish German film.” In this article, I analyze Gegen die Wand (2004), Kebab Connection (2004), and Auf der anderen Seite (2007) to explore how Akin claims “membership” in a local and transnational film community and which intertextual references Akin makes to Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s films, highlighting how he draws upon Fassbinder’s gaze at the body.

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