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Son Cellat (literally 'The Last Hangman') is absolutely a poor,one-sided take on the post putsch period in 1980's Turkey. Yusuf( Atilla Saral)is a public prosecutor who has lost his son apparently after a police raid on illegal political activists. Upon the demise of his son, he decides to come out of his shell and becomes politically active by contributing to the work of his son's college friends. One night,while they are carrying illegal placards, the gendarmerie cracks down on the activists and Mr.Prosecutor naively surrenders instead of running like the youngsters do. In the jail, he befriends Bayram (Kadir Inanir) who does all the menial tasks from cleaning toilets to sweeping the cigarette butts on the floor. He teaches him how to read and write.Bayram is apparently serving an unjust sentence.He says he has been framed for the murder of his wife merely because of a jackknife he bought for his son which reminds one of the preposterous plots of old Turkish movies in 70s. In the jail we see that all the warders and the authorities are heartless fascist pigs which might lead you to ask whether any one of them could be humans(!).On the other hand, all of the leftist political prisoners are highly good people serving for the greater good. They refuse to clean their toilet,they set the jail on fire to defend their untouchable rights.
Turkey is notorious for its so-called bloodless Guardian coup d'états (military coups d'états in 1960, 1971, 1980 and a military memorandum in 1997)during which a lot of people fought each other in a senseless fierce tussle between the rightists and leftists which still goes on as a furious Kulturkampf on the political arena. When you look back, there is no sense in looking for a culprit.We know that nationalist rightists fought back the left wingers some of whom hoped to see a communist revolution but some of us also know that young people were the toys of political shenanigans on both sides. In Son Cellat the impression you get is that those leftist youngsters fought for a noble,exalted cause. This is not the historical truth. The truth is that a lot of young people killed each other by denouncing the others as traitors. If you are familiar with the ridiculous,predictable plots of Turkish movies in 70s and 80s there is no reason that you are going to find this movie intriguing and riveting. The movie features a star-studded cast but the whole acting flies in the face of a good movie making with its bathetic dialog,maudlin expressions of sympathy and far-fetched heroism.
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