Turkish director Turan Haste’s Oscar qualifying film is one everyone can relate to on some level. Although its premise is one that is fit for a feature, he manages to fit it into his latest short film.
Being young and in school often leaves us with memories we can never forget. We take a trip down memory lane and often think back of the people who made our experience. There was always the student who couldn’t behave just so he can get dismissed for the day or expelled. Every class around the world has this type of rebellious student, unassuming prankster.
The troublesome child at the heart of this story is Yusuf (portrayed by Muhammed Mayda), known for his regular bullying of his classmate Ayse (played by Elif Eylul Yesilyurt). The teacher.
Ishack (Mucahit Kocak), yearns for tranquility, and is in a desperate pursuit to mend his fractured relationship with his ex-spouse and child. In the school caretaker, Siracettin (Okan Selvi), he finds an unexpected ally who reveals that Yusuf’s father is equally problematic, having angered several locals.
In this Unique situation it is the teacher who is is distracted, engaged in a ugly custody battle involving his son. This paints a somber yet fascinating picture of life in Turkey’s countryside. Turan Haste weaves a persuasive script that introduces several storylines to be explored subsequently and keep the audience wondering.
The ordinary and relatively peaceful life of the village is disrupted when Ayse disappears. As concern for her safety escalates, the police gear up for action. In such a tight-knit community, rumors spread quickly, and it’s only a matter of time before the guilty party is unmasked.
In this succinct cinematic piece, the tempo may be laid-back, but the storytelling never lags excessively. We get tantalizing peeks into Ishack’s world through the mundane – a phone call, a text message. Yusuf, with his toxic aura, casts a dark shadow over his classmates, particularly Ismail (Baran Salman), who finds himself tongue-tied when trying to articulate the issue to Ishack. Siracettin, on the other hand, seems to be concealing more than he reveals, embroiled in petty feuds that are bound to brew animosity.
Though the film is brief, it delivers a potent, universal truth: Regardless of geography, culture, or language, Turan haste hits the nail on the head when he brings the situations that people around the globe experience daily.