Yusuf is a Turkish political activist whose work with a group of revolutionaries earned him a long stay in prison. He is released after ten years when he's diagnosed with a severe respiratory illness, and returns home to the small town near the Black Sea where his mother lives. His homecoming gets off to a rocky start when his dog doesn't recognize him, and while his mother is happy he's back, she can't offer him the emotional and spiritual comfort he needs after a decade in jail. Mikail, a close friend of his from their school days, decides his old pal needs a vacation, and they head to Rize, a resort town by the sea shore. Mikail rents a couple of rooms at a cheap motel and rounds up a pair of hookers to entertain them, Eka and Maria. Yusuf isn't in the mood for cheap sex and refuses to spend the night with Eka, but as they get to know one another, the two begin to bond and Yusuf finds a kindred spirit in a woman whose life has taken her places she never wanted to go.Written by
I saw this film at the San Francisco International Film Festival and the audience was ecstatic. Fans of Bela Tarr will appreciate the scenes with no dialog, but which still deliver more information than a babbling script could have delivered about a troubled political prisoner and a conflicted nation in a confused world. The cinematography, from the "central chair" in the home to the snowy mountains of northern Turkey were amazing. One issue that I wish that I had looked at before seeing the film was the history of Turkish/Russian relations. This is a major theme. In a similar vein for those of us who have read and loved the novels of Orhan Pamuk, we westerners learn something very important about a vibrant but conflicted country. I gave this 9 stars based on content first, with cinematography a very close second. The lead actor is incredible and this is a new director to be watched.
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