This film could have been titled “There Will Be Beef.”
The best approach is to begin with the characters, because the wonderful, sad, touching "The Edge of Heaven" is more about its characters than about its story. There is a reason for that: This is one of those films of interlocking narrative strands, called a hyperlink movie, but the strands never link. True, they link for us, because we possess crucial information about the characters -- but they never link for the characters, because they lack that information. I liked it that way.
There is an old man named Ali (Tuncel Kurtiz) in Bremen, Germany. He is from Turkey. He has a smile that makes you like him. Think of Walter Matthau. One day (as is his habit, I suspect), he goes to visit a prostitute. This is a middle-age Turkish woman named Yeter (Nursel Kose), who works from the doorway of a brothel. Yeter is heard speaking by a group of Turkish men, who assume she is Muslim, and tell her they will kill her unless she quits the business. Ali makes her an offer: He will pay her to move in with him on a permanent basis. She accepts.
Spoiler warning, I suppose, although this segment of the film is titled "Yeter's Death." Ali gets drunk, he hits her, she falls, she's dead, he's in prison. She was heartbroken because her daughter, Ayten (Nurgul Yesilcay), had been long out of touch with her. Yeter's body is shipped back to Istanbul, where we meet Nejat (Baki Davrak), Ali's son. Nejat is a professor at a German university, but makes it his business to track down Yeter's daughter and somehow make reparations. In this process, he moves back to Istanbul and buys a German-language bookstore from a man who is homesick for Germany.
Back and forth, between Turkey and Germany, the strands tangle. We meet Ayten, who is a member of a militant group. Deeply in trouble with the authorities, she flees to Germany, where she is befriended and taken home by a young woman named Lotte (Patrycia Ziolkowska). The two fall quickly and passionately in love. For reasons we will leave to themselves, Ayten ends up in a Turkish prison, Lotte goes to Istanbul to try to help her, and ...