It's the 60s, and there's little work in southern Italy. Gigi, his older brother Giancarlo and their parents leave their dusty hometown of Solino for Germany, where they open the first pizzeria in the Ruhr District. The two boys begin to explore the strange new world around them, Gigi with openness and enthusiasm, Giancarlo with prudence and cunning. The years go by and the boys become rebellious young men. Even law-abiding Gigi has a run-in with the law provoked by his brother's recklessness. Yet the two remain close and rent a flat with their friend Johanna. The latent rivalry between the brothers rises to the surface when they both fall in love with her. Giancarlo, who's always felt eclipsed by his more popular younger brother, wants Johanna for himself. He also envies Gigi's determination to realize his childhood dream of shooting a movie. Just when his first film is selected for a festival, Gigi temporarily returns to Solino, leaving Johanna with Giancarlo, and the fate of his film in his brother's hands ...

Director's Statement

A little more than a year ago, my producer Ralph Schwingel told me about a screenplay that he absolutely wanted to film. It was a script called "Solino" by the renowned Hamburg author Ruth Toma.

All I knew was that the story revolved around the first pizzeria in the Ruhr District. When I read the script, the thought of directing it myself didn't even cross my mind. Usually, I write my own film scripts. However, as a director, I found it impossible to read it without imagining how the film could be made, or how to find the best visuals. Whenever you read a screenplay, you get a vision of the film, even when you haven't written it yourself.

I was skeptical of the beginning, since it all seemed so far removed from my own life. I don't know any Italians, I don't speak Italian, and I know as little about the 60s as about the 70s. But I was captivated by the script from the very first page. I had tears in my eyes upon completing it. I fell in love with the book, as in a girl with a pretty dress. All the doubts I had before were swept away. I immediately began trying to convince the producers and the author — after all, my family also emigrated from elsewhere. Apulia or Anatolia, what's the difference? Just like Gigi, I also have an older brother, Cem, who's also a pretty good actor. And just like Gigi, I, too, was once a little boy with a big dream: the dream of making films.

Moreover, there is something universal about the story, something I know very well and love to teil over and over again in my films: the warmth, the tenderness, the love which the characters radiate ...

I am extremely happy to be able to make this film, and really looking forward to working in Italy. After all, Italy stands for good food, beautiful women, wonderful films and — not least — the strongest football league in the world.


Director's Biography

Born to Turkish parents in Hamburg in 1973, Fatih Akin quickly established himself as one of the most interesting and successful young directors. Even his two short films SENSIN — DU BIST ES! (Sensin... You're the One!) and GETÜRKT (Weed) won awards.
Akin's breakthrough came in 1998 with KURZ & SCHMERZLOS (SHORT SHARP SHOCK), for which the three lead roles won the Bronze Lion at the Locarno Film Festival. In addition to nominations in the categories "Best Film" and "Best Direction" for the 49th German Film Award, the film also won the Bavarian Film Award in 1998 and was awarded the prestigious Grimme Award in 2001.
With Moritz Bleibtreu and Christiane Paul in the lead roles, Fatih Akin's second feature film IM JULI (IN JULY) garnered the public's awards at the German Film Festivals in Paris and Los Angeles, at the Viareggio Europa Cinema & TV and at the International Film Festival in Tromsö, Norway.
Following the documentary WIR HABEN VERGESSEN ZURÜCKZUKEHREN for the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation and the music video DIGGER IS A DANCER for "DiggerDance," SOLINO is Akin's third feature-length theatrical film.
Fatih Akin, who also regularly appears an screen as an actor, was a member of the international jury at the International Film Festival in Berlin in 2002.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Fatih Akin

Written by: Ruth Toma

Produced by: Ralph Schwingel, Stefan Schubert, Hejo Emons

Cinematography: Rainer Klausmann

Editing: Andrew Bird

Production Design: Bettina Schmidt

Costume Design: Lucia Faust

Make-Up & Hair: Waldemar Pokromski

Cast: Antonella Attili (Rosa Amato), Gigi Savoia (Romano Amato), Patrycia Ziolkowska (Jo), Tiziana Lodato (Ada), Barnaby Metschurat (Gigi Amato), Moritz Bleibtreu (Giancarlo Amato)

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 2003