Review: Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul (2005)

Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul (2005)

Directed by: Fatih Akin | 92 minutes | music, documentary | Starring: Baba Zula, Duman, Replikas, Erkin Koray, Ceza, Mercan Dede, Selim Sesler, Brena MacCrimmon, Siyasiyabend, Aynur, Orhan Gencebay, Müzeyyen Senar, Sezen Aksu

A beautiful dark-haired lady sits behind the microphone with her eyes closed. When she opens her mouth, a wonderful voice sounds, singing songs in an unknown language. It is one of the people who visit Fatih Akin and Alexander Hacke. She sings Kurdish lamentations and tells Hacke the story behind this music.

Confucius said, “If you want to get to know a place, you have to listen to the local music.” And that’s exactly what Fatih Akin and Alexander Hacke do in this documentary. The two take a journey through Istanbul, capturing a piece of the city’s musical culture. Alexander Hacke became fascinated by the music in Istanbul during the shooting of Fatih Akin’s feature film ‘Gegen die Wand’. Hacke was involved in the music for this film.

Istanbul is a unique city. The city is the dividing line of different cultures, the border between East and West. This is reflected in the music that is made in the city. The mix of East and West comes to the fore in Crossing the Bridge. The journey starts with a number of rock bands, who make western music with a Turkish twist. All lyrics are sung in Turkish. Filmed rappers also sing (rapping) the lyrics in their own language. Besides this interpretation of Western music by Turkish musicians, Alexander Hacke also visits musicians who make more traditional music. For example, he makes a trip to the northwest of Turkey, where he gets drunk and makes music with the local Romas. It is clear that all these musicians have one thing in common and that is the passion for music. They all speak with respect about the music of other subcultures within the city.

The images of Istanbul lend themselves perfectly to a film, it is a beautiful city. The images of the city combined with the beautiful music make you want to go to the city as a viewer to taste the mix of East and West. Confucius was also right, you get to know a place better by listening to the local music. In this beautiful documentary you will get to know the city of Istanbul and its inhabitants in a way that you as a tourist will never get to know.

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