Saturday, May 14, 2005

Journey on the Clockhand/Akrebin Yolculugu (1997)

Akrebin Yolculugu

Turkey/Hungary/Czech Republic

The most original if not the best Turkish director since Yilmaz Guney, Omer Kavur has a way of linking all his important feature films together via recurring visual motifs and a slow-paced shooting style that allows the viewer plenty of time to meditate on the symbols, metaphors and images as they mesh together into a whole.

In Akrebin Yolculugu (Journey on the Hour Hand), the story of a clock repairman on a strange journey to a distant village to repair a tower clock, Kavur retraces his steps to the abandoned Motherland Hotel with its demented porter and leans heavily on the Sufi mysticism of The Hidden Face with its accented colours and mirrors, simple objects and natural landscapes, faces and movements. He aims to reinforce the feeling of a timeless journey into the self on the part of the protagonist.

Sometimes referred to as the "Turkish Bergman", Kavur this time explores the psychological thriller a la Clouzot and Hitchcock - and although the director is too original to steal from Vertigo, the parallels are visible nonetheless.

Indeed, suspense is built as the scope of the story broadens into a murder mystery that involves a tyrannical husband who loves to hunt and a group of blind singers who "sense" more than what most people "see". If anyone is left in the dark throughout most of this zig-zag tale of forbidden passions, then it's the introverted clock-repairman who falls in love with a mysterious woman who may or may not be a murderess. Ron Holloway

Prod co: Alfa Film (Turkey), in co-production with Objektiv Film Studio (Hungary), Barrandov Biografia (Czech Republic), supported by Eurimages; Prod: Omer Kavur, Janos Rozsa, Anna Vasova; Dir: Omer Kavur; Scr: Macit Koper, Omer Kavur; Ph: Erdal Kahraman; Art dir: Selma Gurbuz. Ed: Mevlut Kocak; Mus: Attila Ozdemiroglu; Cast: Mehmet Aslantug, Sahika Tekand, Tuncel Kurtiz, Nuvit Ozdogru, Macit Koper, Kenan Bal, Rana Cabbar, Tomris Oguzalp, Aytac Arman; Running time: 119 mins; Int sales: Alfa Film Ltd

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