Wednesday, April 21, 2010

IFF Day 13: The Misfortunates, Kosmos, Tulay German

Completed on May 18th - It's becoming hard to write these, as it's been a while...

The Misfortunates has a lovely Flemish title (De helaasheid der dingen) and an even better Turkish one (Şeylerin Boktanlığı). Story of a boy growing up among drunkard white trash Flemish men (his dad and three older brothers), to become a famous novelist (the film is an adaptation). While I usually don't like the handheld-shaky-muddy cinematography that has become so ubiquitous lately, it does work here to good effect. The film has actually won the Golden Tulip at the festival. Two of the actors were here to collect the award, and they remained here for a few days more, courtesy of Eyjafjallajökull.

Kosmos comes from the most interesting of contemporary Turkish directors, Reha Erdem. Like his previous My Only Sunshine (Hayat Var), it has brilliant cinematography and an interesting use of sound, and is slightly too long. While I loved the idea of a mystical stranger coming into town and the way he used Kars (and yet it isn't Kars), everytime the stranger spoke, I felt completely alienated and detached from the film. Apparently, his lines were taken from a number of "holy books." Maybe that's what turned me off...

Tulay German: Years of Fire and Cinders is a documentary about one of the most popular Turkish singers of the sixties. My generation does not know her well (or rather, at all) as she emigrated to France in 1966. A few years ago, my newly-found cousin Didem Pekün (we have a big family) has decided to make a documentary about this fascinating woman. As German did not want to be filmed herself, Didem had to find other ways of telling her story, and ended up including herself in the film, which she completed with Barış Doğrusöz. It's an interesting portrait with loads of archival footage, a must-see for everyone interested in German or in 1960s' Turkish cultural scene.

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