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Francesco and Marta are husband and wife running a small design company in Rome. When Francesco's long forgotten Aunt Anita dies in Istanbul, he travels there to look after the sale of the hamam (one of a few traditional Turkish baths left) he inherited. There he meets the family running the hamam, gets attracted to a member of it and the whole Turkish atmosphere and decides not to sell the hamam.. Written by
I agree with those who comment that marketing this as a gay film is an indulgence in false pretenses, but I and my friends have enjoyed this thoughtful, beautifully filmed parable of self-discovery as a parable for the coming-out process. The vagueness and the fact that so much of the story is told through glances, gazes, and shimmering vistas of Old Istanbul means that everyone can bring their own story along with them to illuminate the hints and nuances of this remarkable film.
The ensemble performances were very powerful, and I honestly couldn't find any false notes here, though the atmosphere of Mediterranean melodrama at the film's sudden and somewhat awkwardly contrived conclusion seemed a little heavy and perhaps unnecessary as an ending to the serenity of the film as a whole.
I quite liked the music, and I enjoyed the director's eye for everyday details in a landscape that is very exotic to a North American filmgoer--reminiscent of The Scent of Green Papaya, or Raise the Red Lantern.
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