Archive for the ‘Turkey’ Category

The Water Diviner – **(*)

Posted: June 27, 2020 in 2014, Australia, Drama, Turkey, War, WW1, XX

A bit of a flop, this directorial debut of Russell Crowe, but worth the watch.

Crowe also plays the main lead: a father who travels from Australia to Gallipoli to find the bodies of his three sons who got missing in action during the disastrous World War 1 battle.

Crowe is a joy to watch. He may not be the most expressive actor out there, but he embodies the character really well. The man loses his children and his wife, has nothing much left to live for, so decides to go on an unprecedented journey into post WW1 Turkey.

It looks like an old skool romantic war drama from the sixties, which is a good thing. The cinematography is great. A bit over-romantic maybe. Istanbul looks gorgeous in the yellow filter. It’s definitely not a dark, grey and grim movie. There is some action, but it’s not a war action movie. The story takes place after the First World War. There is an awkward romantic touch to it that isn’t necessary, but kinda cute.

Also positive is that the Turks speak Turk amongst themselves. That most speak fluent English to converse with Crowe’s character is a bit unlikely, but we’re only talking about five people here, so maybe, just maybe, these Turks were fluent in English back in 1919. It’s great to see a Turkish view on this Gallipoli battle. They lost a lot of lives as well. It’s not only ANZACS that got killed. The fact that a Turkish army leader helps locate the bodies of deceased soldiers sounds plausible. That he becomes some kind of ally/friend with this Australian farmer is less plausible. But it works. Just like Russell Crowe, Yilmaz Erdogan is a joy to watch.

Maybe, on another night, the inaccuracies would have bothered. The main actress isn’t even Turkish! The Greeks are represented as a bunch of mountain war mongers.  But it was a good movie tonight.


Mixed Kebab – *

Posted: March 10, 2012 in 2012, Drama, Flanders, LGBT themed, Turkey, X

Ibrahim is a twenty something from Antwerp who comes from a Turkish family and is gay. Unlike his troublesome teenage brother, Ibrahim is the ‘good son’ of the family, especially since he’s now going to get married to a niece from Turkey. That will stop the rumors on the street! But Ibrahim isn’t going alone to meet his future wife. He’s taking along a boy he’s been eyeing at for a while now. So far the introduction to this intercultural drama that isn’t half as controversial as it desperately wants to be.

The first 20 minutes are dead awful. The introduction of the stereotypical characters and situations make you want to leave even before the actual story begins. Two superfluous scenes of people sniffing coke as if it’s the most common thing in the world nowadays. WRONG! Even more annoying is the dialogue between the characters. It’s like they are all reading an auto cue and were told to do it as emotionless as possible. This is NO actor’s movie. Lucas De Wolf who plays the troubled adolescent is the only one that shines a bit. The rest look like they rehearsed every scene just once before the camera’s started rolling. But  it does get (a little) better at the end. Surprisingly enough the second story line of the movie intrigues more than the gay theme. The troublesome brother of the main character gets recruited by an extremist muslim organisation after he’s been ‘wrongly’ treated at the police station. Again thanks to the performance of the actor playing the part. Cem Akkanat, the actor who plays the main character, is so zen throughout the whole movie (apart from one small outburst) that you have no empathy for him at all. He seems to be totally okay being gay, so why would the viewer care about his so-called struggle. The adolescent who can’t seem to make any right decisions for society, his parents and himself is much more compelling.

You can’t really blame the movie makers for mixing these controversial topics into a popcorn movie that is shown in all the major cinema’s. Thought provoking and visually poetic or confronting master pieces about one of these topics would keep the mainstream audiences away. I guess this one is still attracting crowds. I saw several muslims in the audience (assuming the girls wearing head veils were muslim and their Mediterranean looking male friends as well) and I was curious to see their reactions. A real controversial movie would unleash interaction from the audience, but nothing during this screening. It is a very amicable movie that doesn’t offend anybody, which isn’t necessary, but well, sorry, it’s also a tad boring.

The movie makers just tried to mix too many different hot topic ingredients in the blender and produced a very tasteless smoothie of a bit of everything and nothing in particular. A missed chance.

Turquaze – **

Posted: October 2, 2010 in Drama, Flanders, Turkey, XX

Seen at the UGC Antwerp

Turquaze is the most hyped movie in Flanders at the moment. For the very simple reason that it’s the first Flemish movie that deals about immigrants in Flanders directed by someone whose parents were immigrants as well. The director and his brother who plays the main character have been in every tv show. They ‘ve had interviews in every newspaper. And all the comments and reviews are extremely positive. The PR campaign itself deserves an Oscar. If you haven’t heard about this movie, you haven’t been in this region for a while.

However, I’ve just seen the movie and it’s just a decent piece of cinema. Nothing more and nothing less. There’s nothing original about the movie. There’s nothing intriguing about it either. It’s just an above average movie that would never attract a tenth of the crowds it attracts now, if word of mouth would have been the only way of advertising.

Leaving the theatre it puzzled me why I felt totally untouched by the whole experience. Nowhere in the movie did I feel empathy or apathy for any of the characters. Nowhere in the movie was I excited or curious to know what would happen next. I just enjoyed watching it.

Hands up for the director whose cinematic vision translated well to the big screen. It is a beautifully shot movie and you never have the impression that it’s made with a low budget. Pure class. The story on the other hand is very simple and predictable. It’s not half as fascinating as it could have been and the dialogues are silly. Actually, the best scenes in the movies are those scenes in which nobody talks. Those scenes are very impressive and it shows the talent of the actors who really can express a lot with their behaviour and their look. But again, the dialogues are just too silly and ruin the whole experience.

The story, by the way, follows a few weeks in the life of a Turkish-Flemish musician after the death of his father. He has a Flemish girlfriend, but hasn’t introduced her to his family yet. Nor has he been introduced to her family. He has two brothers: one conservative older brother and one lost teenage brother. Yeah, that’s basically the story. 2 hours long.

Again, it’s a good movie. But it’s slow. And it’s never funny. Nor does it ever make you feel emotional. If you want to see a good home made movie about intercultural relationships check the Brussels drama Au-Dela De Gibraltar ***.