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European Law Monitor NewsEdge of Heaven takes inaugural European Parliament LUX prize

A film about human relationships between German and Turkish people has won the first European Parliament "LUX" cinema prize. MEPs voted Fatih Akin's "Auf der Anderen Seite" (Edge of Heaven) their favourite film from a shortlist of 3 on Wednesday 24 October. EP President Hans-Gert Pöttering presented the prize in the hemicycle debating chamber. In Strasbourg to collect the prize was the film's producer Klaus Maeck. We caught up with him to get his thoughts on the film and the prize.

Death, love, hope, fear

For those who have yet to see it, a brief synopsis of the film follows. Despite the misgivings of his son Nejat, Ali, a widower, decides to move in with Yeter, a prostitute who shares his Turkish origin. Nejat, warms to Yeter when he realises that she sends most of what she earns to her daughter in Turkey to pay for her university education. Yeter´s accidental death drives a wedge between father and son. Nejat goes to Istanbul to search for Ayten, unaware that the 20-year-old political activist, has fled to Germany to escape the Turkish police. In Hamburg Ayten becomes friendly with Lotte, a German student, who invites her to stay, despite the qualms of her mother Susanne. Ayten is arrested and put in detention, and ultimately deported to Turkey, where she is sent to prison.
Lotte decides to go to Turkey, where her efforts to secure Ayten´s release run into a brick wall of bureaucracy. She meets Nejat and they become flat-mates. A tragic event prompts Susanne to travel to Istanbul to continue her daughter´s quest. As he grows closer to Susanne, Nejat feels the need to be reconciled with his father, who now lives in Turkey, by the Black Sea.

A few words with producer Klaus Maeck:

For those who have not seen the film, could you explain its main message?
The main message of the film is death, reconciliation and then forgiveness. It's because the protagonist learns from those who died how to live
How can the LUX Prize help European film makers?
I have great respect for this prize. In Europe we don't hear much regarding art and culture from Parliaments. It's great that it will be in 23 languages and that it will reach a wider audience - which will enhance integration in Europe.
Your film raises issues of nationality and identity: what do you think Europeans can learn this?
When we were filming in Turkey, Turkish film makers, artists and actors - they don't think much in terms of borders and the accession of Turkey to the EU. They think more in terms of humans travelling and building relationships.
What is your favourite film?
It's a film from the 1970's called "Themroc" with Michel Piccoli - who in fact happens to be here in the Parliament today. ("Themroc is a 1973 film which has no dialogue and examines the power of authority, sexuality and the limitations of modern society).
So could we assume you are a pro-European?

Yes I am indeed. It's a very good idea the subtitling my film in 23 languages - as it allows it to reach more people around Europe.

Further information: Award of the LUX Prize
Interview with Director Cedric Klapisch: 19 October 07
EP committed to culture: 2 October
Parliament's new film prize to boost European cinema: May 2007