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I just got this film from tulumba.com in New York. It is definitely worth a look for those interested in Turkish/Kurdish/Middle Eastern films. In many ways, Kazim Oz's "Fotograf" is as visually striking as Nuri Bilge Ceylan's "Distant," which I and many other people consider the best Turkish film ever made. It is also a film which has evolved from the political road films of the late Yilmaz Guney, who like Oz was a director of Kurdish descent. But, the emphasis here is on two characters. There are several telling scenes in the film, such as when a mini-bus driver abruptly changes a music cassette of Kurdish music to Turkish music, and when the two passengers watch TV news footage of the bloody conflict between the Turkish military and Kurdish guerrillas (the skirmishes lasted for about 15 years). It is an unsettling film, and it illustrates why there is civic unrest in Turkey amongst its Kurdish population. But, Oz does not fully develop the narrative here. The film's short length, a mere 66 minutes, is its main detriment. Perhaps, since the Kurdish-Turkish conflict is unresolved it might seem fitting that a film about the matter be this way as well. But, the striking visuals and skilled cinematography ultimately fail to compensate the incomplete narrative. However, one does feel that Karim Oz will expand his horizons and become an exceptional filmmaker in the not too distant future.
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