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Kirik midyeler (2011)

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Hakim and Faysal have come from Mardin to Istanbul to find work and escape to Germany where their cousin lives. After a short time they make close friends with Medina and her daughter Elma,... See full summary »





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Cast overview:
Ugur Baris Mehmetoglu ...
Seydo Celik ...
Selma Alispahic ...
Engin Benli ...
Ipek Kizilörs ...
Enzo Ikah ...
Cumhur Sari ...
Topal Asim
Maria Akgüllü ...
Volga Sorgu ...
Feridun Koc ...
Restaurant Owner


Hakim and Faysal have come from Mardin to Istanbul to find work and escape to Germany where their cousin lives. After a short time they make close friends with Medina and her daughter Elma, refugees from Bosnia. With the aim of finding a cure for Elma who has a heart problem, Medina disappears from sight one day suddenly. The now lonely and desperate girl is at the mercy of Hakim and Faysal whose plans are now rent askew. The three children now in pursuit of Medina find themselves in struggle to survive in one of the worlds greatest metropoles. Written by Seyfettin Tokmak

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Release Date:

22 June 2012 (Turkey)  »

Also Known As:

Broken Mussels  »

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User Reviews

An unflattering mirror to modern day Istanbul...
26 May 2013 | by (Türkiye) – See all my reviews

Seyfettin Tokmak's first feature length movie tells the story of a group of both local and foreign immigrants who have to make both ends meet in the slums of Istanbul. Hakim (Ugur Barış Mehmetoğlu) and Faysal (Seydo Çelik) are two cousins of Kurdish origin who have come to Istanbul from their native town Mardin to make some money. Their dream is to save up enough money to go to Germany. Hakim, the older one of the two street urchins, is an ambitious scamp who indulges in any sort of shenanigans that will make them some money. He doesn't refrain from filching and lying as long as he believes he will get some money which might bring him closer to his cherished dream, going to German where his relative Selim, who he believes, leads the life of Riley. Faysal, the younger and the more conscientious cousin, sounds like he cares more about how he will feed himself than going to Germany. He cares for Elma (Ipek Kizilors), the daughter of a Bosnian woman, Medina (Selma Alispahic). Elma has some sort of heart disease and apparently her mother hopes that she will be able to get some treatment there in Istanbul. They all live in a shabby, run down pension run by Cevat (Engin Benli). Cevat engages in anything illicit. He deals drugs, sells human organs for transplant, abuses hookers, and terrorizes his tenants. When his tenants fail to pay their rent, they are browbeaten into doing dirty work for Cevat. Seyfettin Tokmak gives you tranches de vie from the modern day Istanbul. The slices he offers is not you choose to see and ponder upon every day. It's not a tourist's Istanbul. It's not idyllic, not picturesque. The people who come into the fire out of the frying pan, the people who have to make a new life in their fetid doss-houses. It's true to life all right but is it something you want to see? After all, the similar stories with different people in a similar setting have been told before. Is Seyfettin Tokmak's story any different? Does it have any distinctive quality?

As much as they have no experience or presence in front of the camera, the acting skills of the children seem most convincing. For instance, I would say they are so much better than the trio of non-professional performers in Köprüdekiler (2009). On the other hand, the fact that the two cousins believe that they can take care of each other, send some money to their family and save up enough money to go Germany sounds comical enough. I am hardly convinced that they even keep writing snail-mails to someone who has barely written back. At some point you just want to scream at the screen: You can't even have a pittance to pay for your fleapit room! How could you possibly dream of going to another country?" Still, I am glad that the film did not try to appeal to people's emotions by politicizing the Kurdish brothers unlike the recent Kurdish films.

While the whole story sounds true to life, the lives of our characters do not necessarily intertwine. You can't just build a credible story over a loosely packed script. Focusing on separate events in the lives of each character could have worked if the end of the story wasn't expedited to a vague denouement in favour of something more ambiguous yet trying to be hopeful.at the same time.Seyfettin Tokmak's first feature may not be the first movie which tells the story of simple people who are in the throes of profound metropolitan change. It may not have a well-written, convincing script. It may even deliver an end, which would sound unconvincing for some but the story is gritty real and the non-professional acting is just superb. It surely deserves more publicity. It just deserves to be watched at least once.

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