Representation of European Utopia and its Discontents in the Films of Fatih Akin

Mert-Travlos C.

JOURNAL OF HUMANISTIC PSYCHOLOGY, vol.62, no.6, pp.822-837, 2022 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 62 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/00221678211009642
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ASSIA, Periodicals Index Online, ATLA Religion Database, EBSCO Education Source, Education Abstracts, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.822-837
  • Keywords: diasporic communities, emotional geographies, Fatih Akın, music, third area, urban space, place
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


In this article, I contemplate the questions of "Europeanness" through the prism of Fatih Akin's films. His works can be considered as being representative of European urban cinema, as he skillfully questions "European identity" through the cosmopolitan urban landscape and multicultural identities he employs. Such scrutinization of identities, be it on the level of individual, national, and/or postnational, are emphasized by the sampling of various eclectic music genres. Just as the identity of Europe has been shifting, Akin's filmic representations have been successful in capturing the postindustrial cityscapes of certain European cities. Moreover, through the music and sounds he deploys, Akin opens up a "third space." This unfolds through his cinematography, which aurally and visually reflects on cityscapes, immigrant and nonimmigrant identities, as well as emotional geographies created through his various subjectivities. Such a third space is also constituted by the flow of desire of his characters through their temporal displacements between (European) cities such as Hamburg and Istanbul, and their attachments to "places" through music. I thus discuss how Akin engages with the meaning of "Europeanness" and European identity in relation to the "Other,"-in other words, how this director tackles the issue of identities through the socio-political and cultural spaces of his protagonists. This also overlaps with how he utilizes music in his movies, as well as how he represents the idea of a utopia and dystopia through the social world of his diasporic characters.