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Yol

Posted by martinteller on March 6, 2012

This film (which won the Palme d’Or) tells the story of Turkish prisoners on leave.  Seyit is tasked with killing his wife, who has cheated on him.  Mehmet is ostracized by his family because he fled a crime scene and allowed his brother-in-law to be killed by police.  Omer finds his village torn apart by some sort of civil war.  Yusuf is detained after losing his papers.  I think there was another guy, but I lost track.  Frankly, I found a lot of the movie rather confusing.  This might be partially due to cultural bias… every main character was “that swarthy dude with the mustache” to me.  It took a while to sort out some of the subplots.

Yilmaz Gumey wrote the screenplay in prison and Serif Goren directed it in secret.  Later the film was smuggled out of the country where Gumey edited it and had it dubbed.  Despite these seemingly limiting conditions, it’s a very professional production.  Most of the time you can hardly tell the actors are dubbed, all of them seemed quite good to my foreign eyes and ears.  And the photography is generally excellent, with some memorable shots scattered throughout.  The score is very nice as well.

In all, it’s a moody, bleak movie that speaks about the internal and external “prisons” that the Turkish citizens deal with, imposed by social, cultural and political situations.  However, only Seyit’s tale truly engaged me.  His character felt the most fleshed out, his conflict was the most resonant, the cinematography in his thread was the strongest, and the story has feminist angles that give it extra dimensions.  The others were kind of a blur to me, I never really got to know those guys or become involved in what they were going through.  Occasionally there would be an interesting scene to hook me back in, but then I’d lose interest.  Even grading it solely on the strength of Seyit’s tale it’s a strong film, but I wish I had connected more with the other portions.  Rating: Good

IMDb
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