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.

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