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Nihal G. Koldas
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I saw something unorthodox which did not exactly engage me!
Çamur (Mud) is apparently Derviş Zaim's homage to the land he was born in.In an interview he gave to a Turkish newspapers Derviş Zaim says :" Çamur is a "first" in terms of the subject it's trying to deal with. Cyprus issue has been treated in different ways for the past fifty years. Unfortunately none of these efforts left a lasting effect. This is because our cinema did not defy to come out of its shell and try to say something new".Derviş Zaim's movie, which is proclaimed as the "first film of a united Cyprus" really defies convention and mentions openly the killing Greek villagers in revenge for the murder of Turkic Cypriots. The story is set on the border between the Greek and Turkish sides in Cyprus, where mud in a salt-water lake is believed to have healing qualities though the movie does not really tell us why and how people came to believe the mud,itself is a sort of "panacea." Ali((Mustafa Ugurlu)is a mute guy who does his compulsory military service at such a late period for a soldier. The movie,again, does not really tell us what exactly Ali suffers from but he has difficulty of speaking and he can't stand sunlight.His sister Ayşe(Yelda Reynaud) is a gynecologist and her fiancé Halil (Bulent Emin Yarar)is obsessed with making some easy money by trying to sell some ancient rocks.and Temel (Taner Birsel) is a restaurant owner haunted by the nasty things in his past, the things he did to revenge the murder of his fellows back in 1974.Among four friends, Temel is the only one who really thinks he should redeem himself for what he did. At first he starts a project of exchanging sculptures.People who hate one another are simply going to send each other statues in different sides of the border. By simply looking at each others' statutes he believes people can purify themselves of their hate and this can contribute to the peace process. When the sculpture installation does not work as well as they want,they decide to store sperm from families in both sides who have lost family members. I understand that "Mud" was regarded as an anti-Greek film, and financed by the Turks in some Greek circles and I can understand that Zaim tried to portray the Cyprus dispute in an unorthodox (for some Turks)or in a non-partisan way (for others).Apparently he believed that this movie could be a film about reconciliation, a cure for hate like the mud which has healing qualities but let me assure you it's not everyone's cup of tea not because of its political nature but because of its cinematic ways. There is too much surrealism,maybe too many metaphors in the movie. At some point you do not feel like you are drawn in by the movie. The characters sound so bland, the acting seems to be devoid of any distinctive flavor,the metaphors wear you out like you have read pages of pen portrait,at some point you forget what you were just reading. Besides, it all sounds like one-sided. While we see the Turkish Cypriots who try to deal with the past and turn over a new leaf we do not see any Greek in the movie at all. Like the amputee,Ahmet(Ali Düşenkalkar) in the movie says "Role play. Crap!You're going to put yourself into somebody else's shoes?Those Greeks! And would they ever put themselves into your shoes?" Would they or would they not? The movie does not tell much about that.All in all, it's not much of a thought-provoker,I would say.
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