A revisit, but not one that turned out the way I expected!
Written By: Faith Akin
Directed By: Faith Akin
I remember the first time I watched Auf Der Anderen Seite. I was so completely blown away by the film that I immediately declared myself a disciple of Faith Akin and shouted that I loved Auf Der Anderen Seite from the hilltops. I tried to get as many of my film friends as possible to watch Herr Akin’s film and at every opportunity I spoke the good word about Auf Der Anderen Seite. I decided I wanted to share the greatness of Auf Der Anderen Seite with my wife, and I scheduled it as part of our Bill Knows Best Marathon. Halfway through my revisit I came to a startling realization, Auf Der Anderen Seite is nowhere near as great as I thought, nor was this a film I wanted in a marathon where I share my favorite films with my wife.
My opinion of Auf Der Anderen Seite didn’t completely change to a negative one. I came away from this viewing of the film with positives still in my mind. But, unlike my initial viewing this time I was not blown away by Auf Der Anderen Seite. Major flaws within the film were pushed to the forefront of my mind. Flaws so major that I couldn’t continue to herald Auf Der Anderen Seite as a great film. It’s still a good film, a film that gets many things right, but it gets a couple of major areas very, very wrong.
The first problem I noticed during this viewing of Auf Der Anderen Seite was the pacing. Herr Akin paces his film so that it moves like a glacier. The tone is one of meditation and thought, and I totally dug that approach. The decision to compliment the somber and thoughtful tone with a pace that moved like a slug was a frustrating one. It was hard to get into the flow of the film or feel the weight of the characters decisions when the film moved so slowly. I was kept at a distance by the pace, not allowed to fully engage with the characters in the way that Herr Akin intended.
The other major problem that I developed with Auf Der Anderen Seite was the relationship between Lotte and Ayten. Herr Akin gave me one significant moment between those two characters and expected me to believe in the lengths those two would go to for one another. In truth, Herr Akin used that shortcut with a lot of the characters in Auf Der Anderen Seite. In lieu of providing depth to the relationships seen in the film he provided only a cursory glance into their lives. That made it very hard to invest myself in the actions of the characters and the tribulations they faced. I wanted to be more invested than I was, but the film would not let me get to know enough about the people in the relationships to form a deep investment.
I enjoy the long reach of Auf Der Anderen Seite. I find the film to be shot and composed beautifully. I still enjoy what Herr Akin does with Auf Der Anderen Seite on the whole. However, there are flaws in the film and they are quite large. Thanks to those flaws I will no longer be found shouting from the rooftops about Auf Der Anderen Seite. It’s still a movie well worth checking out, but it’s not the amazing film I once wanted to tell everyone about.