28 January 2018 | dromasca
halucinating and dystopian view
Some of the best film achievements have come and will come from places which are under social and political pressure and are being created by film directors who are deeply involved in the life of their countries and have both the talent to make cinematographic art out of their questions and fears, and the courage to make films that reflect their concerns and reach their own audiences as well as the international ones. "Abluka" (Frenzy) which is only the second film of director Emin Alper was released in 2015, one year before the failed coup and the political actions that followed it in Turkey. It presents a deeply disturbing and dystopian view of the realities of a country hit by terrorism and answering it with the means of force. Hard to say if this is the reality of today or a projection in the future, but after all there are many people who consider the world we live in with its violence, terrorism, repression a dystopian version of the world we used to know and live in ten or twenty years ago, and maybe here we see (or dream as in a nightmare) a cautionary version of the world of tomorrow.
The lead characters of the film live in a miserable slum in the outskirts of a big Turkish city, a typical incubator of violence and terror. We see in the background the shining towers of a modern city and do hear the explosions of the terror attacks that hit it but the life of the two heroes are obviously buried in poverty. They are in a figurative and non-figurative manner the scavengers of their world, performing some of the unwanted jobs that support the system: the older brother just released from prison collects garbage and is a police informer, the youngest one kills stray dogs. A third brother had disappeared suddenly from their lives a decade ago. They try to adapt and do their best to survive, but they have a hard time communicating, even with each other, and the pressure of the world around overwhelms them. The sliding slope of their lives seems inevitable.
The story plays permanently with the balance between sanity and insanity, between reality and and the nightmares of the two heroes. From some point ahead it becomes unclear if what we see on screen is reality, or the nightmares of the two brothers, or maybe the life around became one big nightmare. The wonderful acting of Mehmet Özgür and Berkay Ates, makes us share their fears and claustrophobia. The situations the two find themselves are difficult but are not their fault, and actually, if we try to understand their personal perspectives, each of them makes sense. They try to do their best to play inside the system while keeping their human feelings. So, if the two characters behave rationally maybe the insanity belongs to the world that surrounds them? the world that surrounds us? This film with its grim vision and the tragic fate of its heroes is not easy to watch, but it is true and impressing, the work of a talented film maker.