Theatrical film poster
|Directed by||Fatih Akın|
|Produced by||Stefan Schubert|
|Written by||Fatih Akın|
|Music by||Alexander Hacke|
Daniel Puente Encina ("Niños Con Bombas" and "Polvorosa")
|Edited by||Andrew Bird|
|Distributed by||Timebandits Films (Germany)|
R Film (Turkey)
Strand Releasing (US)
Cahit Tomruk is a Turkish German in his 40s. He has given up on life after the death of his wife and seeks solace in cocaine and alcohol. One night, he intentionally drives his car head-on into a wall and barely survives. At the psychiatric clinic he is taken to, Sibel Güner, another Turkish German who has tried to commit suicide, approaches him. She asks Cahit to carry out a formal marriage with her so that she can break out of the strict rules of her conservative family. Cahit is initially turned off by the idea, but then he agrees to take part in the plan.
After Sibel tells him that she prefers an independent sex life, they live as roommates with separate private lives. They eventually fall in love, but things take a turn for the worse when Cahit accidentally kills one of Sibel's former flings in a confrontation. Cahit is sent to prison and Sibel, her infidelity exposed, is disowned by her family. While Cahit is in prison, Sibel goes to Istanbul to stay with her cousin Selma (Meltem Cumbul)—a divorced woman who manages a hotel. Sibel accepts a job as a maid in Selma's hotel, but finds her new life to be too restrictive. She leaves Selma's apartment to live with a bartender who provides drugs and alcohol. Eventually, he rapes her during her drunk sleep and throws her out. Roaming the streets that night, she is accosted by three men who eventually beat her up. One of them stabs her and they leave her for dead.
Several years later, Cahit travels to Istanbul upon his release from prison, hoping to find Sibel. Initially, Selma refuses to tell Cahit where Sibel is, but later informs him that Sibel is in a long-term relationship and now has a daughter. Cahit waits in a hotel for Sibel's call. It eventually comes, and they meet to make love while her boyfriend is on a business trip. After their two-day tryst, Cahit asks Sibel to take her daughter and run away with him. She accepts the plan, but, while packing at home she hears her husband return and squeals of delight from her daughter. At the bus stop, Cahit waits but she never shows up. The film ends with Cahit on a bus, presumably traveling to Mersin, the city where he was born.
- Birol Ünel as Cahit Tomruk
- Sibel Kekilli as Sibel Güner
- Catrin Striebeck as Maren
- Güven Kiraç as Seref
- Meltem Cumbul as Selma
- Hermann Lause: Psychotherapist Dr. Schiller
- Demir Gökgöl: Yunus Güner
- Cem Akın: Yilmaz Güner
- Mona Mur: Customer Zoe Bar
- Adam Bousdoukos: Barman 1
- Mehmet Kurtuluş: Barman 2
- Tim Seyfi: Taxidriver
- Fanfare Ciocărlia: Musicians
- Stefan Gebelhoff as Nico
- Francesco Fiannaca as Mann am Tresen
Head-On has received positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a "certified fresh" rating of 91%, based on 85 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "A raw, provocative drama about star-crossed love and the lives of immigrants caught between the traditional and modern." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 78 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
- "Best Film" and the "Audience Award" at the 2004 European Film Awards on December 11 in Barcelona, Spain.
- The Golden Bear for Best Film at 54th Berlin International Film Festival on February 14, 2004.
- The Golden Prize for Best Actress at the Deutscher Filmpreis on June 18, 2004.
- The Quadriga Prize on October 3, 2004 in Berlin.
- The Silver Mirror Award for the Best Movie from the South at the Oslo Film Festival on October 16, 2004.
- The Audience Prize at the 9th Festival de Cine on November 6–13 in Sevilla, Spain.
- The Golden Bambi for the best shooting star at the 56th Bambi-Verleihung on November 19 in Hamburg, Germany
- The Golden Gilde prize for the best German film of 2003-2004 at the Leipzig Film Fair.
- The Goya Award for Best European Film of 2004, on January 30, 2005 in Madrid, Spain.
- (in German) Official site
- Head-On on IMDb
- Head-On at AllMovie
- Head On at Box Office Mojo
- Head-On at Rotten Tomatoes
- Head-On at Metacritic
Good Bye Lenin!
| European Film Award for Best European Film
Good Bye Lenin!
| Goya Award for Best European Film