In their compelling and beautiful documentary, writer-director Fatih Akin (Head-On) and musician Alexander Hacke (of the German avant-garde band Einsturzende Neubauten) visit the salons, clubs, and back alleys of Istanbul, the great, oft-troubled metropolis at the mouth of the Bosporus. There, they discover a boiling stew of musical and cultural history that makes New Orleans seem as bland as Salt Lake City. From the self-acknowledged conflicts of a neo-psychedelic band called Baba Zula to the keening Arab ballads of an 86-year-old singer named Muzeyyen Senar, the filmmakers seek to unlock the secrets of a city that's been the nexus of East and West for three millennia. "I only managed to scratch the surface," Hacke laments at the end. Maybe so, but what a glorious surface to behold, and the receptivity of the filmmakers to music of all kinds is extraordinary.
Director: Fatih Akin
Writer: Fatih Akin
Producer: Fatih Akin, Klaus Maeck, Andreas Thiel, Sandra Harzer-Kux and Christian Kux
Cast: Alexander Hacke, Baba Zula, Orient Expressions, Duman, Replikas, Erkin Koray, Ceza, Istanbul Style Breakers, MercanDede and Selim Sesler