Journey to the Sun

Journey to the Sun


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

There are two ways of looking at Yesin Ustaoglu's film of modern Turkey, either as anti-government propaganda or as a coffin flick. She uses non actors, which is only partially successful. Nazmi Oirix, who plays the shy, rather beautiful Mehmet, lacks any kind of chemistry. Expressionless, he wafts through an emotionally charged script like a sleep walker.

In Istanbul, the Kurdish immigrants are constantly hassled by the cops. Mehmet is arrested for something he hasn't done and beaten up in prison. Later, his new friend, Berzan, who scrapes a living selling music tapes from a barrow, is killed in police custody.

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Mehmet is determined to take Berzan's body back to his village in the south. That is the coffin bit, which becomes a genuine adventure. With an unsympathetic bureaucracy, army road blocks, no money and hundreds of miles of breathtaking country, it becomes a daunting prospect for a teenager. The pace is slow, the photography (Jacek Petrycki) superb. "Is it a crime to have dark skin?" Mehmet asks at one point. The answer is yes, especially if you are Kurdish. Ustaoglu doesn't fake it for entertainment's sake. She's the real thing.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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A Kurdish emigre tries to take his friend's body home.
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Director: Yesim Ustaoglu

Writer: Yesin Ustaoglu

Starring: Nazimi Oirix, Newroz Baz, Mizgin Kapazan, Ara Guler

Year: 1999

Runtime: 104 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: Turkey/Germany/Netherlands


EIFF 1999

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