Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul

The discussion of Akin's 2005 film Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul revolves around the stereotypical image of Istanbul as the bridge between two cultures or, as Thomas Winkler puts it, between "all cultures, all points of the compass, and influences" (2005), thus highlighting the Western fascination with Asia as the ultimate Other and the perception of Turkey and the Turks as the external Other. Many critics focus on Istanbul's unique location as the "Eurasian frontier post" (Grofi 2005), as the "Turkish metropolis at the intersection of Europe and Asia" (Behrens 2005)—a city of border crossings, visions, and new syntheses. Interestingly Akin's "Istanbul self" is less often evoked than one might expect. Yet Christiane Langrock-Kogel and Hans-Jurgen Jakobs in Suddeutsche Zeitung Online (2004) explicitly state that with each of his films, Akin has come closer to Turkey and has now embarked on a search for his Turkish self in Istanbul. Others trace Akin's interest in Istanbul explicitly back to his family history (Behrens 2005). In general, however, allusions to Akin's "Turkish German self" are less explicit than before. This probably owes in large part to the fact that, according to Akin's own definition (Durr and Wellershoff 2005), Crossing the Bridge is widely perceived uncritically as a documentary film about the musical culture of Istanbul—a rather problematic simplification that allows for an ethnicization of Istanbul as the "bridge between Orient and Occident."

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