Kader (2006)

23 06 2008

A very good film, but I’m afraid that much of its details were ultimately lost on me. While it is easy to appreciate the very fragmented / elliptical way in which the story is presented, it is similarly difficult to follow along with so many characters, all of whom seem to look the same. There’s also a fair share of overly-specific plot messyness that does essentially nothing to enhance the real purpose: the up and downs (of which there are many here) of a very complicated relationship. It does provide plenty of pathos and moments of emotional truth, but compared to its thematic brethren, it comes off as a bit too one-note.

Bekir works at the family carpet store as a salesman. Despite his profession, he is incredibly shy. One day, he meets Ugur – a carefree, outgoing girl. In other words, everything he is not. Nonetheless, he still falls for her, but quickly discovers that her bubbly personality is hiding plenty of emotional baggage. She is in love with Zagor, who is imprisoned. He is constantly relocated from one institution to another, but no matter how far it is, Ugur always follows. In the mean time, Bekir fulfills the wishes of his parents and participates in an arranged marriage. He begins to build a family, but he cannot forget Ugur, which leads him to scenarios where both he and his wife experience great amount of personal suffering.

Quickly, the film perfectly sets itself up to be a somewhat light (and/or cute) story about long-time crushes, and the pain and frustration that goes along with it. This is thrown away quite rapidly, and then the film begins to take on its much more “dark” material. While Bekir’s undying love for Ugur is endearing, it also only that. His actions after nervously proclaiming his love for her are completely over the top and uncharacteristic. Perhaps many people like this sort of “character arc” nonsense, but it does seem the least bit realistic. In a way, this is sort of like Citizen Kane in its very conventional rise and fall (and in this case, repeat) sensibility. The problem here is that the filmmakers have obvious aspirations to make this a very profound meditation on human relationships.

Look, all human relationships are complicated beyond our comprehension but they aren’t complicated in the way they are portrayed here. It seems that the very specifics of the plot are the causes of emotional conflicts, which would explain why they are presented so fragmented. It might be somewhat of an exaggeration but this is the sort of like the “complicated relationship” films that Hollywood tries so hard to make but always fails. Don’t get me wrong, this conventional in the least, but whoever wrote it seemed to have a very skewed idea of what causes problems in relationships to begin with. On the other hand, this does make many sequence really great, if one is to take them out of their context. Still, I’d say that Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Semih Kaplanoglu are miles above Zeki Demirkubuz.

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