Oh boy, I loved and hated this Turkish film. It is excruciating to watch, like the Lanthimos film Dogtooth where the characters are so extreme, the story so odd and metaphorical that you are not really sure what it is you are seeing. And then the resolution is so devastating that you know you have just watched something with deep resonance.
This will be a hard film to explain. It is deadpan and slow and odd. The reality is absolutely mundane but the rules that guide these characters grate against our sensibilities. We watch a couple, with the help of family, create a fictitious record of their pregnancy with photos posed with a fake belly. We see them adopt a child and then fake hospital photos. The husband gets a transfer to a teaching job at a new school so no one will know. This may sound feasible but this couple treat parenting as if it’s a new car they have bought and within the world of this movie, this is not strange.
What becomes clear is that this couple is a symbol of something. They are shallow, callous, racist, gluttonous, there is no emotional connection between anyone in this story. I’m still thinking about what this metaphor is and its significance to Turkey; capitalism, European consumer culture, patriarchy, the shift away from the legacy of Ataturk, I’m not sure. I see resonance though in the preoccupation with image and status, the fear of outsiders, the genetic selection of children, sleepwalking through a 9 to 5 job, disconnection with humanity.
So this film is not for the faint hearted but I can promise you, if you stay through to the end, you will not forget it.
Bechdel test – pass