Head on Directed by Fatih Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

This represents a new kind of immigration that is more global and less structured than previous types of immigration. Author Suarez-Orozco continues, "The cultural models and social practices that we have come to call multiculturalism shape the experiences, perceptions, and behavioral repertoires of immigrants in ways not seen in previous eras of large-scale immigration" (Suarez-Orozco 1). The roles of immigrants are evolving in society, and so are the ways society views immigration, and of course, not all of these views are positive, so immigrants may face even more stresses and disapproval than ever before, which could lead to a resurgence in their embracing their original cultures.

It is not difficult to see how it would be difficult for parents such as Sibel's to quickly accept and approve of their new culture in all areas. Suarez-Orozco continues, "During the course of our research, it has not been difficult to detect that many immigrant parents strongly resist a whole array of cultural models and social practices in youth culture that they consider highly undesirable" (Suarez-Orozco 1). Surrounded by a culture that is much more permissive and far less authoritative would be daunting to just about anyone, and attempting to protect children from this culture would be the most common reaction, especially coming from a society that is far less permission and open, especially to women. Sibel's parents reacted to her porn career by disowning her, a common practice for families with rebellious daughters. However, the film community accepted her, and even noted that her sordid past might be a help rather than a hindrance to her career. "As German actor Mathieu Carriere pointed out, 'The fact that Sibel Kekilli had starred in pornos is unimportant. Better to go from pornos to the "Oscar" than the other way round'" (Editors). It is interesting that society accepted her past, for the most part, while her family could not, which indicates the great gap between society and immigrant cultures, and why it can be so difficult for people who essentially live in two very different worlds at the same time.

The fact that Sibel's family abandons her is extremely important in the migrant culture, because when people migrate to a land of strangers, family is the only thing they have to fall back on. The author continues, "Many immigrants come from cultures in which the family system is an integral part of the person's sense of self. These family ties play a critical role in family reunification -- an important force driving new immigration" (Suarez-Orozco 1). In turn, Sibel abandons her family and attempts suicide several times, which indicates how torn she is between the safety net of her family and their consistent demands on her. She does not want to turn away from her culture, she really wants to blend both in the film, and her flight to Turkey underscores that. However, the film (and the actress herself) both illustrate just how difficult it is to live with two different cultures in your background. Sometimes, it can lead to situations like this film shows, from addiction to self-doubt and even self-loathing.

In conclusion, "Head on" is a disturbing film, not because the lovers do not reunite, but because it presents culture and society in such a dark and negative way. This film explores the realities of the immigrant experience, and how difficult it can be to fit into two very different cultures at the same time. Siebel Kekilli is a real-life example of a women square in between two cultures, and perhaps that is why she won so many awards for this frank film.


Editors. "From Bare to Bear for Ex-Porn Queen." DW-World. 2004. 3 April 2009.


Ramakrishnan, S. Karthick. Democracy in Immigrant America: Changing Demographics and Political Participation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2005.

Stern, Mark J., Susan C. Seifert, and Domenic Vitiello. "Migrants, Communities, and Culture." The Reinvestment Fund.. 2008. 3 April 2009. 1-12.


Suarez-Orozco, Marcelo M. "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Assimilation but Were Afraid to Ask." Daedalus 129.4 (2000):…

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