Popcorn, anyone?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monkey Business.....

The name "Nuri Bilge Ceylan" might not, of course, ring a bell. It's a name to contend with, however; the man it belongs to won the Best Director award at Cannes this year.

The film begins with a brilliantly shot footage of Servet, an aspiring politician, falling asleep at the wheel. As his car turns a corner, you hear, rather than see, its tires screeching to a halt, followed by a dull thud.

However, a politician to the core, Servet convinces his driver, Eyup, to take the blame for him and go to prison, with the promise of a "lump sum" of cash on his return. Eyup reluctantly agrees, being in dire need of money at the time, but when he returns after nine months, he finds his family torn apart by deception, failure and adultery (his wife, Hacer, begins an illicit affair with Servet and his son, Ismail, gets into the wrong company after failing his University exam).

The rest of the story revolves around how the family chooses to work around these issues rather than address them directly (hence the name "The Three Monkeys--See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil").

The film is a canvas for the DOP. Gokhan Tiryaki's jaw-droppingly astounding cinematography (yes, yes, more superlatives please!) deserves a standing ovation. He effortlessly captures Turkey's stunning locales, using dark green and jet black hues to his advantage. Crisp editing (which could, of course, be "crisper" in terms of frame length) and an apt background score round up the technical aspects.

It's Ceylan's direction, however that leaves you yawning and snoring throughout; each scene is so long, each emotion so tediously brought out that by the end of it, you just don't care about what happens to whom (indeed, if you remember their names to begin with). It's as if the director didn't know what do after capturing a shot and decided to stall for time till he thought of what to do next.

The film's length, mercifully, is a pithy one and a half hours, so you're not tortured for too long.

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