Back in Istanbul, the lonely and frustrated Mehmet works by day as a building laborer and by night in a smart restaurant where he’s in charge of the cloakroom.
Determined to return to his family, he makes a formal application at the German Consulate, but is denied; meanwhile, his wife pleads his case through the German courts. But when all legal avenues appear to lead nowhere, Mehmet decides to try the illegal route.
He contacts a shady character, manager of a sex club, who offers him passage to Germany for 5,000 marks, far more money than Mehmet can raise. But a chance occurs when, on the spur of the moment, he steals the wallet of a loud and wealthy customer at the restaurant.
The long trip by minibus begins, with several other illegal immigrants along for the ride. But the bus driver abandons the unfortunate Turks for several days at a small hotel on the outskirts of Budapest and, when he returns, demands more money to take them the rest of the way.
Ironically, Mehmet discovers that the German court has granted him permission to return — but the application must be lodged back in Istanbul. Lacking the funds to retrace his steps, he resolves to continue his illegal journey.
This territory has been covered before, notably in the Swiss-produced Oscar winner “Journey to Hope,” but Sozen’s confident handling of the material gives it a new lease on life. Franz Rath’s location photography on a variety of Turkish, German and Hungarian locations is first-class, and Menderes Samancilar is effective as the dogged, rather naive, protagonist.