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Somersault in a Coffin (1996)
"Tabutta rövasata" (original title)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 3,754 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 2 critic

Mahsun is homeless and unemployed. He lives in Rumelihisari (one of the most picturesque and oldest quarters of Istanbul), and tries to stay alive with the help of local fishermen. Mahsun ... See full summary »

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Title: Somersault in a Coffin (1996)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Ahmet Ugurlu ...
Mahsun
Tuncel Kurtiz ...
Reis
Aysen Aydemir ...
Girl
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mahmut Benek
Ahmet Cediladirci
Baris Celiloglu
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Storyline

Mahsun is homeless and unemployed. He lives in Rumelihisari (one of the most picturesque and oldest quarters of Istanbul), and tries to stay alive with the help of local fishermen. Mahsun loves cars, he steals at nights and in the mornings he drives them back clean and well kept. He lives to emphasize the strange togetherness of possibilities and impossibilities. In this togetherness, Mahsun experiences friendship, trust, a one-way love affair and torture. He insists to survive in his open-air coffin of ancient Istanbul streets. Written by bogazici

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Drama

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15 November 1996 (Turkey)  »

Also Known As:

Somersault in a Coffin  »

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Soundtracks

Siyah Araba Calarim
Written by Baba Zula
Performed by Baba Zula
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User Reviews

 
Low-Budget Indictment of Modern Turkish Capitalism
5 July 2015 | by (London) – See all my reviews

Shot on a minimal budget around the streets of İstanbul, TABUTTA RÖVAŞATA focuses on the life of Mahsun (Ahmet Uğurlu), a down-and- out living on the edge of the Bosphorus. He ekes out an existence living under bridges, and subsequently as a bathroom attendant, offering eau de cologne to the customers. He encounters a drug- addict girl (Ayşen Aydemir), with whom he dreams of traveling away in a boat; but nothing comes of it. In the end he ends up in the Rümeli Fortress, where he steals a peacock and cooks it over an open fire.

Derviş Zaim's debut feature makes some trenchant points about the way society treats its lowest members. Mahsun is regularly beaten up by the police, or forced to do errands for the local criminal classes in order to survive. At a heart a good-willing person, trying to help the girl, his efforts at kindness come to naught.

Zaim contrasts this worldly indifference with more enduring elements; there are regular shots of the Bosphorus, suggesting its timelessness. The use of the peacock in Rümeli likewise suggests the timeless theme; they have strutted around the castle battlements for centuries, and will continue to do so. By stealing the peacock Mahsun hopes to associate himself with that timelessness, as an alternative to the exigencies of the present; but hunger eventually gets the better of him, and he is forced to eat it.

TABUTTA RÖVAŞATA introduces several of the motifs characteristic of Zaim's later work - the emphasis on the power of water to transcend merely human affairs, regular shots of a graveyard that once again emphasize the timeless theme - where past, present and future collide - and the regular shots of the protagonists standing by the water's edge, prompting us to reflect on the human condition. This is not just an indictment of contemporary Turkish life: Zaim wants us to reflect on all human life.


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