Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul

Rated NR 90 minutes 2006

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.

Film Credits

Official Site:

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

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