14 user 2 critic

Somersault in a Coffin (1996)

Tabutta Rövasata (original title)
Mahsun is homeless and unemployed. He lives in Rumelihisari (one of the most picturesque and oldest quarters of Istanbul), and tries to stay alive with the help of local fishermen. Mahsun ... See full summary »


Dervis Zaim


Dervis Zaim
17 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Ahmet Ugurlu Ahmet Ugurlu ... Mahsun
Tuncel Kurtiz ... Reis
Aysen Aydemir Aysen Aydemir ... Girl
Serif Erol Serif Erol ... Zühtü
Ahmet Fuat Onan Ahmet Fuat Onan ... (as Fuat Onan)
Ahmet Çadirci Ahmet Çadirci ... Zeki
Mahmut Benek Mahmut Benek
Nadi Güler Nadi Güler ... Malik
Figen Evren Figen Evren ... Veteriner
Baris Celiloglu Baris Celiloglu
Hasan Uzma Hasan Uzma
Rasit Çivi Rasit Çivi
Ömer Metin Kocaman Ömer Metin Kocaman
Hakan Karadagli Hakan Karadagli
Fahrettin Özkan Fahrettin Özkan


Mahsun is homeless and unemployed. He lives in Rumelihisari (one of the most picturesque and oldest quarters of Istanbul), and tries to stay alive with the help of local fishermen. Mahsun loves cars, he steals at nights and in the mornings he drives them back clean and well kept. He lives to emphasize the strange togetherness of possibilities and impossibilities. In this togetherness, Mahsun experiences friendship, trust, a one-way love affair and torture. He insists to survive in his open-air coffin of ancient Istanbul streets. Written by bogazici

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Did You Know?


Aysen Aydemir who played the heroin addict passed away before receiving an award for her role. See more »


Mahsun: But friends are good.
See more »


Written by Baba Zula
Performed by Baba Zula
See more »

User Reviews

Disturbingly brilliant and bleak with amazing characters.
23 August 2020 | by Lynchian696See all my reviews

This work of the Dervis Zaim occupies a special place on most of the world's lists of the best movies from Turkey. There are simply not enough words to describe the quality of this project made with modest budget, which reaches the very top of world art cinematography and which is a film reading for every person who takes film art, in the true sense of the word, seriously. Dervis Zaim is a director who creates the physical into the metaphysical. In this film, he explores the theme of life, friendship, love, innocence and deals with social realism, as the perseverance of simple people notably our Mahsun (Ahmet Ugurlu) a drifter and petty criminal through all life's misfortunes, as his motives that lead him to tomorrow. With his specific technical style, his own camera work and strange, often unrelated sound, he tells his story brilliantly, leading the viewer to the fascinating physical world (Rumelihisari - European side of Istanbul) in which he finally places it. Somersault in a Coffin / Tabutta rovasata (1996), from the first scene, is an intimate journey of Mahsun and his buddies, As the three men wander around the ancient Istanbul streets, and cinematographer Mustafa Kuscu captures them in slow takes, it's easy to look at the beautiful landscape and its rusting, poisoned objects as a symbol of Turkish tragedy; where everything is forbidden . I found it as a crossover between Combat shock one of my favourite Troma films and Eraqserhead with a Tarkovsky vibe. There are also these brilliant moments where the movie moves into Stalker-esque atmosphere that feels very much like Tarkovsky's treatment of Combat Shock (1986) one of my favourite troma movie. Sound plays a key role in the film, water and the peacock lending the film a rhythm and special atmosphere with incredible score by Baba Zula. To say that something deep or multi-layered is common for quality films, but in this film, depth can also be understood visually. It is just an ASTOUNDING movie. Leaves me gobsmacked every time I revisit it.

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Release Date:

15 November 1996 (Turkey) See more »

Also Known As:

Somersault in a Coffin See more »

Filming Locations:

Istanbul, Turkey See more »

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