18 September 2014 | cguldal
Abuzer Kadayif is perhaps marketed as a comedy, but it certainly is a comedy in the traditional Turkish film sense, meaning it is rather tragic than laugh-out-loud funny. As with most satirical comedies, it helps to know what the film is trying to poke fun at, especially since some nuanced nods are difficult to translate properly. Abuzer is a name that invokes the rural, not-so-well educated, Eastern sensibilities. Kadayif is the name of a dessert. So anyone who knows anything in Turkey knows that the name and the character is a spoof of Ibrahim Talises (Abraham Sweetvoice, literally translated. The last name is the stage name of the famous singer).
What's interesting about the film is that a university professor creates Abuzer as a social experiment, dividing his time between acting the part of the extremely popular, if not morally lacking superstar and the insignificant and financially strained professor. Abuzer is revered by the public, while the professor does not merit any reward for his hard work. Abuzer will agree to anything for money and fame, almost naively navigating the dangerous fields of politics and fame, while the professor's only solace is his young girlfriend, who is also an academic and who does not know about his other life. Needless to say, things get complicated after a while.
Perhaps the most interesting voice in the film is Abuzer's right-hand man, who represents a very sensible and pragmatic point of view, which understands the Turkish psyche as well as the status that Abuzer has won in the heart of a nation better than anyone else in the film. In his guidance, the professor finally understands that he is trapped in the superstar's life forever, having created something that requires more responsibility than he ever imagined at the get go.
Metin Akpinar, an immensely successful veteran of Turkish comedy, does an excellent job at playing the two massively different characters (also marked severely by the perfectly diction-ed Istanbul accent (the professor) and the well-spoofed Eastern accent (Abuzer), which may require a trained ear to distinguish, if you do not know Turkish). Talat Bulut and Sibel Turnagol also provide great characterizations that support the main role in every way. The director (Tunc Basaran) and the writer (Kandemir Konduk) are significant and successful members of Turkish cinema, and their understanding of the Turkish sensibilities shines throughout the film.
Recommended for those who are sick of the flat and stupid blockbuster comedies and are looking for something a little different. (I also recommend watching a bunch of YouTube videos of Ibrahim Tatlises singing; he has an amazing voice, and so does Metin Akpinar!)