My Short Words


Reviewed by: Rory Ford

My Short Words
"The film certainly wears its metaphors on its sleeves - you have to admire that."

The unhurried pace of life of rural Anatolia is deliberately evoked in Bekir Bülbül's debut feature. Three young boys set out one hot summer's day to a large lake which can be seen from the rooftops of their small village.

While their journey is considerably more difficult than they anticipated it's not quite eventful enough to justify the sensibly short running time. Bülbül's experience as an award winning documentarian serves him well - you can check out his previous work, Bulgur Mill on YouTube. The boys' performances are winningly natural - rather more so than the some of the adults'; their schoolteacher, admittedly stuck with delivering a heavily metaphoric lesson involving a Turkish bath that transports two friends to a parallel dimension (spot the subtext), can't help but strike an overly emphatic note.

Copy picture

As the lake is far farther than any of the boys anticipates, their journey becomes fraught with the sort of minor peril that is universal - trees are climbed, bicycle tyres are punctured, wild dogs bark menacingly unseen out of the frame of carefully composed sun-dappled landscapes. While the rural setting may be precise there is a sense that this could take place pretty much anywhere in the world and, indeed, some time in the past in some blue-remembered hills anecdote of childhood uncomplicated by mobile phones and searching for wi-fi signals.

Instead, the boys are constantly seeking water to play and bathe in. “Water gives life," remarks one as they observe the reflections of light playing on the surface of a deep well, tantalisingly too narrow and too deep to fit into. The film certainly wears its metaphors on its sleeves - you have to admire that. Plums are gathered, grandads encountered, the local - unthreatening - lunatic glimpsed occasionally but the eventual destination of the lake proves a predictable disappointment. For all the heartening innocence of the three friends and their picaresque journey successfully evoking the quiet, everyday drama of a summer's childhood, Bülbül insists on a crowbarring in a black and white dream sequence with a grave stone announcing: "EVERY SOUL WILL TASTE DEATH" which rather dissipates the small reserves of goodwill the film has built up.

There's a very distinct sense that the whole story (if that's not too strong a word) has actually been dreamt up by the film's nominal young lead (Ebubekir Idare) as he daydreams on a roof in the village on a summer's day but if a child were to concoct a tale, you suspect that they would come up with something rather more interesting than this.

Reviewed on: 12 Apr 2018
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My Short Words packshot
Three kids decide to go on a bike ride to swim in a lake... but the journey won't be as easy as they think.

Director: Bekir Bülbül

Writer: Bekir Bülbül

Starring: Ebubekir Sait, Idare Mevlut, Idare Ahmet, Enes Yaman

Year: 2017

Runtime: 71 minutes

Country: Turkey


Istanbul 2018

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