Based on a true story set in 1948, customs officer Mehti is faced with the duty of formally setting up the border between Turkey and Syria, dividing his hometown. He is unaware of the pain ... See full summary »
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Abuzer Kadayif is perhaps marketed as a comedy, but it certainly is a
comedy in the traditional Turkish film sense, meaning it is rather
tragic than laugh-out-loud funny. As with most satirical comedies, it
helps to know what the film is trying to poke fun at, especially since
some nuanced nods are difficult to translate properly. Abuzer is a name
that invokes the rural, not-so-well educated, Eastern sensibilities.
Kadayif is the name of a dessert. So anyone who knows anything in
Turkey knows that the name and the character is a spoof of Ibrahim
Talises (Abraham Sweetvoice, literally translated. The last name is the
stage name of the famous singer).
What's interesting about the film is that a university professor
creates Abuzer as a social experiment, dividing his time between acting
the part of the extremely popular, if not morally lacking superstar and
the insignificant and financially strained professor. Abuzer is revered
by the public, while the professor does not merit any reward for his
hard work. Abuzer will agree to anything for money and fame, almost
naively navigating the dangerous fields of politics and fame, while the
professor's only solace is his young girlfriend, who is also an
academic and who does not know about his other life. Needless to say,
things get complicated after a while.
Perhaps the most interesting voice in the film is Abuzer's right-hand
man, who represents a very sensible and pragmatic point of view, which
understands the Turkish psyche as well as the status that Abuzer has
won in the heart of a nation better than anyone else in the film. In
his guidance, the professor finally understands that he is trapped in
the superstar's life forever, having created something that requires
more responsibility than he ever imagined at the get go.
Metin Akpinar, an immensely successful veteran of Turkish comedy, does
an excellent job at playing the two massively different characters
(also marked severely by the perfectly diction-ed Istanbul accent (the
professor) and the well-spoofed Eastern accent (Abuzer), which may
require a trained ear to distinguish, if you do not know Turkish).
Talat Bulut and Sibel Turnagol also provide great characterizations
that support the main role in every way. The director (Tunc Basaran)
and the writer (Kandemir Konduk) are significant and successful members
of Turkish cinema, and their understanding of the Turkish sensibilities
shines throughout the film.
Recommended for those who are sick of the flat and stupid blockbuster
comedies and are looking for something a little different. (I also
recommend watching a bunch of YouTube videos of Ibrahim Tatlises
singing; he has an amazing voice, and so does Metin Akpinar!)
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