The volatile German-Turkish drama Head-On (Gegen die Wand, 2003/2004), the fourth feature by the Hamburg born writer-director Fatih Akin, snapped up the Golden Bear at the 2004 Berlin Film Festival and riveted audiences the world over with its tempestuous portrait of lovers torn apart by cultural differences, hard living and psychological illness both real and imagined. Cahit (Birol Unel), a rough hewn German prone to bouts of drinking, fighting, and womanizing, meets Sibel (Sibel Kikelli), a delicate Turkish refugee. In a Hamburg psychiatric ward after suicide attempts. His is real, hers is faked, to escape a marriage arranged by her devout Muslim family. Sibel begs Cahit to marry her to win back her family's esteem; Cahit agrees, believing the sham marriage will repair his wrecked life. The couple share an apartment and little else - he's a slob with a temper; she's a demure neat freak with a heart of gold. When they find themselves falling in love, it's with the brute force of a sucker punch to the gut. Akin employs dark comedy and tragedy to marvelous effect in Head-On, showing the messiness of romantic love in all its ragged, terrible glory. -- Bailey, Andrew. Cinema Now. Taschen, 2007: 26.
Head-On (Germany/Turkey: Fatih Akin, 2004: 121 mins)
Fay, Hannah. "Love Yourself, Head-On." Turkish Cinema (May 20, 2019)
Hoffgen, Maggie. "Crossing Boundaries: Gegen Die Wand (Head-On, 2004). Studying German Cinema. London: Auteur, 2009: 201-213. [BCTC Library]
Tobias, Scott. The New Cult Canon: Head-On." The A.V. Club (October 1, 2009)