Dir. Asli Ozge. Germany. Turkey. Netherlands. 2009.

Talking Pictures alias







About Us


A critical success on the festival circuit, this film is a documentary film with a realistic thread running through it. Telling three different stories without them entwining - a couple with social aspirations of moving to a bigger flat, a rose seller on said bridge in Istanbul who would like a job but cannot for racial prejudice and a young policeman who meets women online and then in person with disastrous results.

Asli Ozge's film, which she also wrote the screenplay for, features real people playing themselves except for the policeman, Murat (Murat Tokgoz) who is played by an actor due to a Turkish law that forbids policeman playing themselves on screen. This strand is the most fictional of the three, they have fun with his love of guns and his fondness for the home town he has left behind for the big city but the scenes when he is talking online to would be girlfriends, followed by the two arranged meetings that are excruiating in their extreme. I laughed loudest at the second time, as he has picked the same rendez-vous point for the same letdown, you have the most sympathy for this character - is it because he is a fictional creation of the norm, or that he is so innocent in a rough world.
Fikrat, the rose seller, seeks employment and love but at every turn is prejudiced by his race and lack of education. He does not help himself when his sheer laziness is apparent when he does get a job in a cafe, and his admission at the end that maybe rose selling is not all that bad is indicative of a generational problem of work shyness, that is apparent across all of Europe.

The final strand, is between a married couple Umut and Cemile Iker who play themselves in an extension of their unhappy marriage. Umut is a hard-working cabbie who shares a cab with a thug, but his wife Cemile a part-time babysitter who has ideals of social elevation and moving to a bigger flat. Umut knows they cannot afford it but Cemile insists. Cemile's attempts at getting a job are blocked by her lack of computer skills, her face as she listens to a woman explain what she needs to do, is funny as the woman is talking very fast and Cemile's blank expression shows how slow she is - she is overawed by this need to work and work hard.
Cemile's inability to gain work and her nagging to Umut leads to a rawness in their conversations that remind of Cassavetes work, and that you are intruding on a very private row.

It is refreshing to see a film like this from a country that apart from the work of 'Uzak' director, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, has no outreach on an international level. Other smaller nations, like Portugal's Pedro Costa have done the same mix of naturalism with a fictional undertone creating this new wave of 'neorealism' across the European continent.

A steely eyed production with some wonderful photography of Istanbul (like 'Biutiful' with Barcelona) shows you the non-postcard version of a popular tourist destination and the use of main bridge is a brilliant metaphor for a journey for the three main male characters. The end with Murat on the phone to his Mum back home is a beautifully shot moment as the sun is setting. The film may well be about men on the bridge, but Istanbul is just as vital a character in this film.
Jamie Garwood

Search this site or the web        powered by FreeFind
Site searchWeb search
   Home | News | Features
    Book Reviews | About Us