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Ali, a restless romantic and Eda, a graffiti artist, embark on a quixotic adventure through Turkey's industrial port-cities, hoping to escape the suffocating routine of their daily lives by... See full summary »

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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Credited cast:
Ugur Uzunel ... Ali
M. Sitare Akbas ... Eda
Mert Asutay ... Raif
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Riza Akin ... Restaurant owner
... Hakan
... Crew
Pinar Gok ... Girl
... Sex shop clerk
... Mother
Huseyin Sevimli ... Kismet
Sirri Süreyya Önder ... Mahmut
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Ali, a restless romantic and Eda, a graffiti artist, embark on a quixotic adventure through Turkey's industrial port-cities, hoping to escape the suffocating routine of their daily lives by finding the ship that Ali has only seen in his dreams. Written by Muhtelif Yapimlar

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10 January 2014 (Turkey)  »

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Ships  »

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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Poignant Drama About Emotional and Physical Imprisonment
12 September 2014 | by See all my reviews

Shot mostly in and around the port area of the Kadikoy district of Istanbul, FERAHFEZA (Ships) is a poignant tale of Ali (Ugur Uzunel), the errant son of an import/export company owner Raif (Mert Asutay), who dreams of escaping from his humdrum life on a ship. He encounters Eds (M. Sitare Akbas), who is in a similar position, as she resents her errant father returning to the family and being accepted without question by her mother (Sebnem Kostem). The two of them dream of escape, but it does not become a reality until one day when they travel to a lonely industrial landscape and find a wishing-tree. Inspired by this discovery, they plan to board a ship, but find to their cost that events have turned against them.

Shot on a shoestring budget, Elif Refig's film nonetheless has a strong sense of place - the grimy iron factories, the filthy boats, the dodgy deals carried out by Raif in order to survive. In such an environment, everyone simply works to survive, especially Ali's friend Kismet (Huseyin Sevimli). Nonetheless Ali manages to find a refuge high up on a scaffolding structure where he can look out over the sea and dream of what might be.

The action moves slowly, with long shots concentrating on Ali's wistful expression as he tries to make sense of his life. There are several dream-sequences, where he is shown swimming in the sea in pursuit of a ship, symbolically named "Vamos," which he hopes will take him to a new life. They are shot in washed-out colors, suggesting perhaps that he doesn't set much store by them.

Refig contrasts these dreams with some breathtaking photography of Istanbul's winter landscapes, with clear blue skies and the sun setting majestically on the horizon. Such shots promise a better world lurking beyond that of Ali and Eda; they just have to find a way of reaching it. Or maybe they can't; this is why Ali has to be satisfied with his dreams.

FERAHFEZA offers a bleak portrait of life for today's twenty- somethings, the majority of whom are doomed to lead mundane lives pursuing nine-to-five jobs and respecting their family's wishes. Their own yearnings are seldom taken into account; their parents just dismiss them either as absurd or unrealistic. They should be "grateful" instead for everything that their parents have given them. Such knowledge is part and parcel of Ali and Eda's domestic tragedy; it prevents them from pursuing their dreams.

The action might be slow-moving, with shot-compositions owing a lot to New Turkish filmmakers such as Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Semih Kaplanoglu, but we cannot doubt the sincerity of director Elif Refig's purpose. I look forward eagerly to seeing future work by this talented director.


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