Poignant Study of Loneliness in a Turkish Small Town
To understand YOZGAT BLUES, viewers should understand that Yozgat is a small town in central Anatolia where not much happens; there is one club Delila, where physician Yavuz (Ercan Kesal) and his ex-student Nese (Ayca Damgaci) are engaged to perform a nightly cabaret. As immigrants from the metropolis of Istanbul, both find it necessary to role-play; Yavuz tries to play the world-weary performer, while Nese uses clothes and make-up to cover up her essential nervousness. As Mahmut Fazil Coskun's film unfolds, however, so the basic flaws in the two characters are exposed. Yavuz turns out to be a small-time performer desperate to make something of his life, even if it means working for nothing. The fact that he wears a wig draws our attention to his role-playing. Nese realizes that performing is not for her, but love offers a more attractive prospect, even if it means falling in love with would-be hairdressing shop owner Kamil (Kadir Saribacak), who in his own way is as much of an actor as the other two protagonists. The narrative concentrates on how all three characters cope with their disillusionment: Yavuz bravely carries on singing, in the belief that he is supporting Nese, but finds that his style of singing (old French ballads) is infinitely less popular with the customers than Turkish arabesk music. Nese tries out a new flaming red costume, but realizes by the end that her ambitions are not so grandiose: perhaps marriage is a suitable way of protecting herself against disappointment. Kamil's business venture looks doomed from the start (he has little or no stylistic sense when it comes to decorating his shop), but at least he has found a source of moral and physical support. The film is full of achingly long close-ups of the characters staring blankly into space, as if trying to cope with loneliness in a small, but unfriendly town: no one seems particularly interested in them. The narrative is slow, but comes to a poignant ending, as everyone ends up happy, except Yavuz, who promises to return to Istanbul by bus, but cannot board the bus when it arrives at the station. He is left alone, looking into space, his wig perched awry on his head, symbolizing his disturbed nature.
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