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Near the Bosporus, Eyüp and Hacer live in a modest flat with their son Ismail, in his twenties, who's doing poorly in his studies. Few words pass between them, and a past family tragedy brings sorrow daily. On a rainy night, Eyüp's boss Servet, a wealthy businessman who's entering politics, hits a pedestrian on a lonely road. He drives off and offers money to Eyüp if Eyüp will take the fall - probably a six-month sentence. Eyüp agrees, and while he's in prison, Ismail wants his mother to ask Servet for enough money to buy a car. Servet, in turn, desires Hacer. How can this play out? Written by
In competition at Cannes 2008, creates more intrigue rather than a cinematic full circle.
Although ambitious and picture perfect, the feeling of exaggeration cannot be shaken from "Üç Maymun", a drama set in Turkey following the exploits and heartbreak of a nuclear family. Thwarted desires and desire-less characters are plenty; Nuri Bilge Ceylan helms the film that feels it has more style rather than substance. Could possibly be taken more as a meditative form of tragic cinema, it still cannot compare to the likes of Ki-duk Kim, also going for the same moody dialogue-less craving audience. In competition at Cannes 2008, creates more intrigue rather than a cinematic full circle.
Film follows a surname-less nuclear family as they come to grips with the paternal character, Eyüp (Yavoz Bingol), who goes to prison for 9 months with either altruistic or financial reasons in mind. He leaves his wife Hacer (Hatice Aslan), who clearly needs more than what her husband can deliver and son Ismail (Ritaf Sungar), an overgrown teenager who cannot find any sort of direction in life, eventually leading himself to lethargy and apathy. Characters are definitely flawed and are interesting, however delivery of the family on celluloid still seem to be somewhat lacking.
Technically, the film triumphs as it conveys more towards the plot than the characters. Cinematographer Gőkhan Tiryaki paints the image with a dull rusty palette perfectly mirroring the doom and depression the characters wear on their sleeves. Also, by the camera angles itself, film clearly wants its audience to be as disjointed to the characters as possible making them feel more voyeuristic rather than empathetic. Certain scenes filled with dramatic desperation are filmed behind the bushes, both making moments like that intensely private but nevertheless distant.
As with the stylish overcast weather this universe is subjected to, the film is intensely meditative as it strictly confines these characters to themselves through limitations of the spoken word. Almost half of the film is indulged in shots that are introspective and deeply personal. It works to an extent as it diverts the thinking to the audience, although picture doesn't really have much to allow the audience to chew on. Like the sky, filled with clouds desperate to rain, audiences will be left wanting to connect with these characters. It does rain, although it only pour before the end credits. A point of liminal, it doesn't make it clear though on what's there to be liminal about.
Picture's ace is Hacer. Played with much desperation by Hatice Aslan, she remains the only character with an overwhelming desire to be happy. Character takes the opportunity to explore happiness whilst her husband is away. But, the thing is, this source of pleasure is normally deemed as unorthodox even if it gives her a reason for being. Once this source of contentment is stripped off, clear anxiety strikes her as she borderlines the bathetic. Indeed a flawed character, she still becomes the reference point to the masculine characters who desire something more tangible.
"Üç maymun" is a cinematic experience that gets richer in retrospect. Definitely not a form of transient entertainment, it caters to a specific audience devotedly. However, feeling of an overstretched plot on a surrealist setting can be a hindrance to full appreciation. It also feels rather indulgent. Extended shots could have been excised, taking with it the impression of a pretentious, not a nirvana-driven, production.
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