Zeynep, Tülin Özen works in a hotel as a housekeeper. But she suffers hell on earth because of her father's behavior. She only talks to Mustafa, 'Engin Dogan' who works in the same hotel and... Read allZeynep, Tülin Özen works in a hotel as a housekeeper. But she suffers hell on earth because of her father's behavior. She only talks to Mustafa, 'Engin Dogan' who works in the same hotel and he is interested in Zeynep. She is not interested in Mustafa who is younger than Zeynep, ... Read allZeynep, Tülin Özen works in a hotel as a housekeeper. But she suffers hell on earth because of her father's behavior. She only talks to Mustafa, 'Engin Dogan' who works in the same hotel and he is interested in Zeynep. She is not interested in Mustafa who is younger than Zeynep, but she is not indifferent to him. While Zeynep is trying to make a bonfire of bad situati... Read all
So far we are in thematic territory covered by other Turkish directors, notably Zeki Demirkubuz, depicting the imprisonment of human beings within a prison-like existence of İstanbul. Where Kaplanoğlu parts company from them is through his deliberate manipulation of time, as he tells two stories simultaneously, with one ending just as the other continues. The parallel story involves Selçuk (Budak Akalın), whose wife Funda (Yeşim Ceren Bozoğlu) dies in a car accident, prompting him to give Funda's clothes away in a suitcase to Zeynep. We see Zeynep taking the clothes; then the narrative moves back in time to show Selçuk's relationship with his wife before she met her grisly fate. This plot-strands with a repeated sequence of Zeynep taking the clothes once more.
Through such strategies Kaplanoğlu underlines the arbitrariness of time: the distinctions between past, present, and future no longer have any significance for his characters, who all trapped in an urban nightmare. Repeated actions assume significance, especially when they involve a life-changing act. Once she receives the clothes, Zeynep tries her best to change her identity by trying all of them on; but finds that she cannot. Her basic fear of her father prevents her from doing so. Nonetheless she is prompted into a significant, life- changing action that blows her life apart, proving beyond doubt that human beings can challenge the status quo around them, if they have the courage to do so.
Throughout the film there appears an image of cotton twine; Zeynep keeps tying a piece of cotton to a post at the beginning, and moving away from it, as if to create some kind of way forward for her own life. However the cotton keeps breaking - a symbolic demonstration of the difficulties involved in trying to establish any kind of continuity, both physically as well as emotionally. Past, present and future cannot be so easily connected. On another occasion she goes to a mosque with a ball of twine and prays to God - perhaps for guidance - but none ensues.
In the end, Zeynep understands what she must do; and her final act is one that not only defies religious but also social conventions. She quite literally sets aside all the teachings imposed on her by her father and faces the world anew. She stands at a window during the dawn, looking out at the İstanbul skyline with the Tower of Leander in the background, and understands - perhaps for the first time - how she can challenge the passage of time, as well as throw off the imposition of the past. The ending has a certain naive optimism to it; it might seem impractical, but for Zeynep it has a particular meaning.
Semih Kaplanoğlu's film includes several of the conventions associated with his later work - long takes, the use of shadow, and characters moving slowly within the frame. But the film yields its own rewards if we are prepared to concentrate on the complexities of its mise-en-scene.
- Dec 10, 2015