Two sisters in their early thirties find themselves isolated in the Aegean summer cottage of their childhood, as they must deal with their uneasy sibling relationship and confront their devastating recent past past.
Celal Tan is a well-respected constitutional law professor who lives in a provincial city has two children from his first marriage. Many years after the death of his first wife, he married ... See full summary »
Deniz, 33, ends up in a hospital after a traumatic night and has to face the ghosts of her past: Soon after the divorce of her parents, she is left behind at the age of five. Her father's control on her childhood's sexual discovery, drove her into a life full of parties, men and sex. After 25 years of her painful but liberating journey and finally months of hospital recovery, she manages to discover herself and furthermore the hidden secrets in her family drawers...Written by
Caner Alper writes and collaborates with Mehmet Binay to direct their second successful feature together after Zenne Dancer (2012) which won a dozen awards and also screened at the Montreal World Film Festival. Having already won best film and best actress at the Nuremberg Film Festival, Drawers (2015) did not draw a huge audience at its Montreal first screening but was able to draw viewers into the complicated cohesive storyline.
The intricacy of the picture probably requires repeated viewings for its full force, but from the initial experience, it seems like the pieces of the puzzle and the pace at the beginning took a while to develop and deliver. It drifted off like the main character before being more focus for the second and third acts.
Ece Dizdar's acting is indeed remarkable and we are faced with a psychologically troubled, traumatized young individual who faced problems, fears, hopes and dreams with self and external love issues. The story and directing take interesting directions with a few strong scenes that start to coalesce. Ece becomes sexy, sensual, sleazy, sentimental, sick, spiteful and soul-searching. Her character, Deniz, battles between levity, libido, limits and liberty constantly.
Family and art creation/performance themes are well explored. Friendship, hardship and alienation is felt, but the focus on temptation and sexual exploration versus the father and societal pressure to repress all sexuality is the crowning achievement of the picture. Brought about gradually and tastefully, it explores and exposes women sexual power and desires but also projects its failings and it fragility in contrast to love and constance. Where is the fine line? Many questions are asked and powerful scenes speak for themselves and linger in the viewers mind. How much is enough? What is the underlying point? What is a whore and why is it potentially 'bad'?
In that aspect, it is reminiscent to Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac (2013) and Steve McQueen's Shame (2011) and continues the recent trend of exploring sexual addiction beyond the more comically approach of Chuck Palahniuk's movie adaptation Choke (2009). Even so, it is a very distinct piece of that pantheon and pursues the same aim in a much more convoluted way. The high level screenplay is indeed interesting and inundated by innuendos and intellectual thought-provoking details. As mentioned, there is enough solid material for further meditation on the subject and the subtleties.
Waiting for some technical tests before the beginning of the viewing, I met a cinephile Turkish woman recently in Montreal for her PhD whom I befriended and we happened to have lunch later and discuss the finer points of the movie. She enjoyed its themes, execution and complexity. We also contrasted the realities, norms, customs and taboos surrounding sex in Turkey to what was portrayed in the picture and ultimately to ultra-liberal Montreal. She stresses that the father's obsession with the asexuality of his daughter in the movie is still a reality even in the more modern top 5 Turkish cities and even more so in rural area. Sex is hidden for fathers, family and boyfriends who all see the blood on the wedding night as ultimate sign of respectability in the, dare I say oppressing, culture. There is a dire need for sexual liberation in many other cultures and even in North America with religious rhetoric and reverends dictating sex lives like priests did in Quebec until the 1960's Révolution tranquille (Quiet Revolution). Yet this movie is in no way preachy and invites reflection on those themes at a personal, family and society level without pointing fingers and without omitting to observe the opportunities for unbalance caused by this pervasive perpetual pressure.
A thinking kind of film for a much needed subject, but that doesn't spare the emotional element. May sex be linked with health, safety and sanity in more and more regions...
Turkey 2015 | 112 mins | Montreal World Film Festival | Turkish (English subtitles)
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