Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Bal (Honey)

Yusuf finds it hard at school.
As your probably aware the RBC Film Club has a slightly different format this season in that a different person will host the complete evening each week and last night Julie McMorran made it look really easy and believe me its not! Julie introduced Bal (Honey) the Golden Bear winner at 2010 Berlin Film Festival a film that was in completion with 19 other films including The Killer Inside Me and Howl from the USA, Polanski’s The Ghost Writer and from France Mammuth, the Jury included Werner Herzog and Renee Zellweger.

The Turkish drama directed by Semih Kaplanoglu is the third and final instalment of the “Yusuf Trilogy” Yusuf being the central character in all three films. The first was 2007’s Egg and the second was Milk 2008. All were filmed and released in reverse chronological order.  Honey explores Yusuf’s early childhood spent growing up in rural North-eastern Turkey where his father keeps bee’s in hives at the top of some very tall tree’s in the nearby forest and supports his young wife and six year old son by collecting honey.

Yusuf reflective father.
The story is told from Yusuf’s prospective, a calm and withdrawn child who has a speech impediment that affects his relationship with his mother and with his school friends, but not the close relationship he has with his father. It’s been described as an intimate film with some unspectacular ingredients which I imagine includes it’s minimal dialogue and a non existent soundtrack which is not always a bad thing but in this instance it reduces a certain amount of emotional empathy the viewing audience has with the on screen characters. Its best attribute is its young star Bora Altas in his debut film, also the look of the film, ever scene is perfectly framed but the use of the static camera does add to its detachment. As one of our members observed this relationship drama has nothing new to offer and misses an opportunity to highlight environmental concerns. To sum up, its beautiful to look at in a travelogue sort of way but with its 103 minute running time gives the feeling of watching paint dry, something Werner Horzog apparently does not agree with?

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