Friday, May 06, 2005

Ten Best Turkish Film | Motherland Hotel (1986) by Omer Kavur

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Directed by Omer Kavur
Cast: Macit Koper, Serra Yilmaz, Orhan Çagman, Sahika Tekand, Osman Alyanak,Yasar Güner
1986, 110 minutes

Festivals and Awards:

Grand Prize, Nantes Film Festival; Best Turkish Film, Istanbul Cinema Days; Film Critics Award, Venice Film Festival; Bronze Prize, Valencia Mediterranean Film Festival; Second Film and Best Director Awards, Antalya Film Festival; Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Score Awards by the Turkish Film Critics

Synopsis: Local standout at the Istanbul Film Days was Motherland Hotel, a sophisticated tale of pathological loneliness with nods to Freud by Ömer Kavur, a young director who has already made seven features. A surprising, stimulating work with nothing of the conventionally "Turkish" about it, "Motherland Hotel" is already on its way to international fests and is an excellent pick-up for adventurous art cirsuits.

Setting is a sprawling old hotel in a small provincial town, which a quiet young man named Zebercet (Macit Koper) has inherited from his parents. Pic's lo-key start sets the stage but hardly prepares the viewer for the shift in register that occurs after a pretty girl spends a night in the hotel. She promises to return in a week, and Zebercet begins an impatient vigil. When she doesn't come back, he starts falling to pieces in a most preoccupying way, revealing a psychopathic, Norman Bates personality below his melancholy, reserved exterior. First he sends prospective clients away, and passes his time sleeping in "her" room. After meeting a youth at a cockfight, Zebercet hesitantly turns down his homosexual overtures, only to rape the hotel maid and strangle her to death. He leaves the body where it is, kills her cat and monchalantly helps police get on the trail of an old client. Only at pic's end, after Zebercet has quietly done away with himself, does camera move in on an old photo of his mother, who has the same face as the girl he waited for in vain.

Apart from its psychological intrigue, "Hotel" is splendidly shot and edited. Koper puts on a one-man show of perturbing fascination.

Yung, Variety
May 6, 1987

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