The List Of Those Who Love Me


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

The List Of Those Who Love Me
"Erdogdu has something serious to say but never takes himself too seriously in the process." | Photo: Courtesy of POFF

If there was one noticeable trend at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival it was the use of black-and-white film. It proved a winner for experimental biopic Dear Thomas in the Official Competition and for Other Cannibals, which won Best First Feature. But there was an award for most playful use of monochrome, it would go to Emre Erdogdu for his breezy dive into the life of drug dealer Yilmaz (Halil Babür) whose fix of choice is the admiration of others. The others in question are the great and the good looking of the hip Istanbul neighbourhood where Yilmaz lives, including musicians, actors and screenwriters who call on him for their artificial highs offering in return, if he could but see it, largely artificial friendship.

Erdogdu's film, which saw Emre Tanyildiz take home the cinematography prize in Tallinn for his work on 16mm stock, even acknowledges its aesthetic choice in a scene where characters talk about a film within the film. "Why is it black and white?" one asks. "I don't know," replies another. This sort of self-knowledge echoes through the film, which name-checks Jarmusch and literally emblazons other influences on the walls. There's a poster of Raging Bull in Yilmaz's bedroom - although the film calls Scorsese's earlier work like Who's That Knocking At My Door more readily to mind - and another of  À Bout De Souffle, which is immediately followed by a Godardian bit of pastiche, in which a voice intones, "It feels like I am nothing..."

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Yilmaz, at least to begin with, feels very much like he is something. Although from a different class - a fact as impossible to erase as words through a stick of rock - he has an air of someone who has perfected his look, with his John Lennon style sunglasses and leather jacket with the slogan "Forever or never" across the back. Party doors open before him, since he's carrying their party with him, and it's not until his supplies are threatened that he realises so is his social status. Although Yilmaz becomes increasingly desperate and finds himself in increasingly dangerous positions as he tries to augment his stash in the face of a cop crackdown ahead of elections and the interest of other dealers who like the look of his turf, Erdogdu keeps a level of humour as the tensions thrum away beneath.

"I'm just shooting shit idly," someone says but Erdogdu is far from doing that. He may be referencing other directors but he does so in ways that work well within the context of his own skewering of the class divide and he has found a star in Babür (who also featured in his previous film Snow). The camera loves his Robert De Niro-esque swagger, hiding something much less cocksure underneath and gradually fraying at the edges as he begins to realise the full gravity of the situation. He also shows an eye for a great image, such as when we see Yilmaz on a bike in a tunnel, and an excellent ear for dialogue, whether it's Yilmaz at cross-purposes with those around him or mobile phone cross-talk. Ali Güçlü Şimşek’s score effortlessly adds to the generally cool ambience. Erdogdu has something serious to say but never takes himself too seriously in the process.

Reviewed on: 15 Dec 2021
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A drug dealer becomes increasingly desperate to retain his social circle as his supply dries up.

Director: Emre Erdogdu

Writer: Emre Erdogdu

Starring: Halil Babür, Hayal Köseoglu, Sermet Yesil, Onur Ünlü, Nazli Bulum, Can Evrenol, Ahmet Rifat Sungar, Murat Utku

Year: 2021

Runtime: 89 minutes

Country: Turkey


Black Nights 2021

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Who's That Knocking At My Door