ARAF is the story of Zehra and Olgun whose lives are caught in a vacuum! The world in which they live and work is a place of throwaway culture and constant change. They too are waiting for ...
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ARAF is the story of Zehra and Olgun whose lives are caught in a vacuum! The world in which they live and work is a place of throwaway culture and constant change. They too are waiting for a chance to change and escape from their empty, monotonous lives. Written by
Ultimately Disappointing Analysis of Emptiness of People's Lives
Set in the small town of Karabuk, midway between Istanbul and Ankara, ARAF (Limbo) explores the empty lives of two young people, both of whom work in a roadside restaurant. Olgun (Baris Hacihan) has a drunken father and a mother who becomes so frustrated that she eventually abandons the family; he loves Zehra (Neslihan Atagul) but cannot find words to express his feelings. The teenage Zehra is looking for a way out of her monotonous life; she believes she has found it when she has an affair with trucker Mahur (Ozcan Deniz), but this soon fizzles out, leaving her pregnant and alone. Too scared to tell her family about what has happened, she has the stillborn baby in the bathroom at the local clinic. Once Olgun finds out about what has happened to Zehra, he embarks on an orgy of violence that lands him in jail. Yesim Ustaoglu's film is similar in terms of subject-matter to Pelin Esmer's recent GOZETLEME KULESI (The Watchtower); both explore the lives of young women growing up in rural societies, with little prospect for their futures other than marriage. Too frightened to confess their real feelings in front of their (traditional) families, they are left isolated and doomed to suffer. Rather disappointingly, however, Ustaoglu does not explore her characters in any great depth; while she incorporates several lingering close-ups of Zehra and Olgun in profile, she does not tell us much about their relationship to those closest to them. While understanding the frequent silences - as the characters cannot find words to communicate with one another - the narrative tends to sag in places. At just over two hours, ARAF is perhaps half an hour too long; the story would have been equally effective if it had been recounted more concisely.
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