Head on directed by Fatih Akin. Specifically it will discuss the film's star, Sibel Kekilli's background as a porn star and the criticism it raised as she starred in this film. Just as immigrants who move to a new culture are often targets of racism and prejudice, Sibel Kekilli was the target of similar prejudice when it was announced she had starred in several hard-core porn films before her debut in Akin's award-winning film "Head on." The continuation of migrant culture when entering a new culture is one of the things that can tear families apart, as this film clearly shows, and it is one of the most difficult aspects of immigration and assimilation, no matter in what part of the world it occurs.
On the surface, "Head on" seems like a tragic love story gone bad, with the main characters so flawed and unhappy that it can never work out. Underneath, the film is truly about the cultural differences between peoples and how they react to them, and underlying that is a real cultural clash in terms of the actor in the film. Just as people of Turkish decent living in Germany face racism and prejudices, Actress Sibel Kekilli faced equal amounts of racism and prejudice after the film's release, when it was revealed that she starred in several hard-core porno films before turning to her "legitimate" film career. Her father disowned her, which is ironic because her character faces some of the same treatment from her family in the film. A reporter notes, "The disgrace is too great for the family,' Kekilli's father said. 'Sibel moved to Hamburg two years ago. Apparently, she worked in the city hall and now this news. I can never forgive her for it. I don't want to ever see her again,' he said" (Editors). This relates directly to the quote by the German sociologist Claus Leggewie, who states: "A racist is somebody who defines 'no matter whether genetic, historic, ethnic or cultural' people alone with respect to their background and thus tries to fix (and block) their options for the future" (Claus Leggewie: Multikulti. Spielregeln fur die VielvAlkerrepublik, Berlin: Rotbuch 1993, p. 103). Her father is acting just as racist as people who want the Turkish people out of Germany, or believe they are not really "German" because of his cultural background and inability to assimilate into German culture, giving up the views of his Turkish culture. He is denying his daughter happiness and he is denying her the ability to live her own life as she chooses, free from judgement and familial approval.
Sociologists and experts know that children of immigrant parents assimilate more quickly into the culture of their new country, because they are not familiar with their parents' culture. A group of authors note, "Social class and generation, in particular, have a significant impact on how immigrants and the children of immigrants engage their own and other groups' cultures" (Stern, Seifert, and Vitiello 2). This is quite clear in the case of this film and this actress. Born in Germany to Turkish parents, just like the girl in the film, she is trying to escape the cultural constraints put on her by her family to become a full participant in German culture, again, like the girl in the film. The actress says of her family "I also grew up in such a conservative family, where there are such girls,' she said. 'My parents are modern, but there were always conflicts when I didn't get my freedom to an extent, but I always fought for it'" (Editors). This represents a commonality among immigrants and their children, and illustrates why there are often rifts between parents who are still holding on to their old culture for sentimental and long held reasons, while the children want to assimilate into what has become their native culture.
Siebel represents a growing trend in immigration and culture. Another author notes, "Immigrants today are more likely to be at once 'here' and 'there,' articulating dual consciousness and dual identities and, in the process, bridging increasingly unbounded national spaces" (Suarez-Orozco 1). This is exactly the situation in the film, where the characters struggle to determine their cultural origins and beliefs, while becoming a part of contemporary society. Cahit, the lead male in the film, is a good example of this. He tries…