dir. Akin
Opens Fri May 20
Cinema 21

Love: It brings out the best and the worst in people, inspiring the most innocent acts and the most depraved ones. Love can lift a person out of the gutter, and it can just as quickly send them hurtling back--it's one fucked-up emotion. Head-On, a fabulous cinematic tragedy, shows how love destroys two people and then builds them up again.

Cahit (Birol ünel) is a Turkish man living in Germany. But he's hardly living at all--he's nearly 40, and he's a haggard, sloppy drunk working in a rock club. He spends most of his days blind drunk, causing fights, and acting like an asshole, all the while mourning the death of his wife. When the burden becomes too much to bear, Cahit drives his car straight into a stone wall.

When he comes to, Cahit finds himself in a mental institution, still acting like a prick and fiending for beer. But he's also being pursued by a beautiful, young, and suicidal girl, Sibel (Sibel Kekilli) who begs him to marry her. Cahit is baffled, and Sibel is manic, but somehow the two come together--not as lovers, but as people helping each other out. Sibel needs a Turkish man to marry in order to get out from under her parents. Cahit needs someone to clean up his house.

The relationship between Cahit and Sibel is charming. She's young and loves life, and he's old and bitter, but they somehow meet on common ground; whether that ground is loneliness, cocaine, or dancing, they manage to find it. (In one scene the two play loud music and flail around their apartment, screaming "Punk rock is not dead!" Things are fucked, but the two still manage to have great moments.)

Eventually, romance and tragedy strike, and the two use each other to both get through the hard times and as excuses to give up. Putting aside all the dramatic events that occur, in the end, Cahit and Sibel's tale is heartbreaking and relatable, and better than just about any love story I've seen.