Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:07 pm 
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Romance and murder: a Turkish conceptual noir

In this second feature by Turkish director Burak Çevlik, a cold, blow-by-blow description by locations of the brutal murder of the parents of a young woman turns into a depiction of a couple's first romantic meeting. As Florian Weigl describes it on Letterboxd, this is a "meet-cute" where Onur (Çaglar Yalçinkaya), who turns out to be an economics student now serving in the army, chats up Pelin (Eylül Su Sapan), a student in psychology who dropped out before completing university but is lying about it to her parents and sending them a faked graduation photo. Starting the conversation, Onur pretends to approach Pelin to make sure she isn't going to throw herself in the river. They chat, then go for a walk and wind up making love at her place, which has a wall of postcards from people she's written to via the internet.

It's all too hard to explain, but what's interesting is that while the opening half, where the clumsy amateur murder plot is explained, seems highly abstract because of only showing locations and not the people, the second, in time earlier "romance" section seems casual, relaxed, and physical, with its closeups and odd angles.

The highlight, for me, is the morning after, when the couple have a delicious-looking Turkish breakfast, where once again the camera focuses more on things, but appetizing ones: bread and jam, cheese, tomatoes and cucumber, olives, milk (but she doesn't seem to drink it) and tea with one sugar. The night before, because Onur didn't want to drink since he had to get up early, they had Turkish coffee, also a lovely, simple, tactile thing. We get to see the grounds decorating the inside walls of the emptied cups.

Thus does Çevik create a nice blend of sensual and intellectual, a Turkish conceptual neo-noir - for this is noir, with its dude and babe, its clumsy crime, and its rueful recollections. Economical this is, but it could be more so, and Florian Weigl got it right when he said the final voiceover "tries a little too hard to bring closure to a story which for me should have ended with the evocative shot of Peril leaning against the threshold of the door, surrounded by light, longing for Onur to return." That is a lovely shot; but so is another of a car interior exploding with red reflected neon light.

Belonging/Aydiyet, 72 mins., debuted in the Forum section at the Berlinale, Feb. 2019. Reviews on Letterboxd. Reviewed by Carlota Mosesgui on Cineropa.



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