When Fatih Akin makes a film, he digs deep into the issues. His new film is based on true facts and revolves around a rapper who has seen history and made history…
Hamburg/Bonn – The story of the rapper and music producer Xatar is definitely material for a film. Childhood in a war zone, flight to Germany, tough youth as a migrant in Bonn and the apparently predetermined path to drug crime combined with the desire to be a successful musician. In addition, a successful gold robbery, which in the end is the start of a career in the music business out of prison.
This life has all the ingredients for a good movie. The Hamburg cult director Fatih Akin recognized this and wrote a two-and-a-half-hour work about the life of the Iranian Giwar Hajabi. Based on Richard Wagner’s opera, Akin called the film “Rheingold” – and staged it just as powerfully.
It’s actually several films in one. A family drama, a historical film, a music story and a gangster film. Akin combines all parts so masterfully that none of the 140 minutes is boring. This also succeeds thanks to the performance of its leading actor Emilio Sakraya (“4 Blocks”), who very charmingly and sympathetically embodies transformation and the torn between necessary hardness, one’s own desires and the search for love.
Akin worked very closely with the rapper to film the life of Xatar while staying true to the facts. What was particularly important to the Hamburg director was that the film was real. “It was the most difficult film I’ve ever made. It was because of the size, because of that “epic”, because of the Goodfellas. Of course I wanted to do justice to the whole thing, but above all I wanted to do justice to myself,” he told the German Press Agency in Hamburg.
About Xatar’s story: The Iranian-born Kurd is the child of a famous composer and conductor and a musician. His earliest childhood memories are of prison, where he was imprisoned with his parents and where his father was tortured. The parents are finally able to flee to Germany via Paris and hope for a good education for their son there. But in bourgeois German society, the migrant has a hard time despite the best grades in school. After all, drugs and violence determine his life. And he’s smart and brave enough to work his way up in this world. At the same time, he does not give up his dream and studies music on the side.
But when cocaine loaned to him by the cartel, worth 20 million euros, disappears in the rain, Xatar’s only option is to rob a transporter full of gold teeth so that he doesn’t end up in the Rhine with concrete feet. The legendary coup succeeds, but a little later he and his accomplices are arrested abroad and sentenced to several years in prison in Germany. It was there that Xatar finally started his music career, rapping under blankets.
For leading actor Emilio Sakraya, Xatar’s life is simply “fucking unbelievable”, as he put it to dpa. “You can’t believe that’s true. For me, what is special is being part of a project that you know you can entertain with.”
Akin achieves this not only through the filming of the impressive life story, but also through a stirring visual language. Whether it’s Xatar’s birth in a cave, his time-lapse development into a thug, his tender love for his neighbor or his youthful, inquisitive enthusiasm for music – Akin takes his time telling the story and creates depth and many funny moments in all these little stories , which also stick after the film. And the music – including that of Richard Wagner – does the rest.
– Rheingold, 2022, 140 Minuten, Deutschland, FSK 16, von Fatih Akin, mit Emilio Sakraya, Mona Pirzad, Kardo Razzazi, Ilyes Raoul, Sogol Faghani und Uğur Yücel. dpa