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Saturday, June 18, 2011

252. Men On The Bridge


    Ok, let's be snappy. The beach is calling. Today's Thomas Cook welcome meeting has been forsaken and instead I caught up with a DVD of Men On the Bridge, which I missed in January.
    This is one of the clutch of Turkish films which threaten to defeat the everyfilmin2011 plan. So this is a definite one-up to the blog.
    However, my sanity does need questioning. The Spanish sun is shining and I need to be out there taking rays instead of writing movie reviews.
    So, let's get on with it before the clouds appear.
    Men On The Bridge is an interesting insight into Turkish life without ever being truly dramatic.
    It tells the individual stories of three men who work on the bridge which spans the Bosphorus in Istanbul.
    The men, a traffic cop, taxi driver and a teenager who sells roses to passing motorists don't know each other. They have one brief interaction when the cop clears the rose seller from his pitch.
    Throughout Asli Ozge's movie I was wondering whether what I was watching was a drama or a documentary.
    It transpires that it is a cross between the two. Many of the scenes are dramatised but they are reflections of real life to the extent that the taxi driver (Umut Ilker) and the rose seller (Fikret Portakal) play themselves. Turkish police are not allowed to take part in movies so Murat Tokgoz plays his real-life brother.
    Their stories are stunningly realistic. The driver works all hours in a shared taxi but never satsifies his workshy wife. The cop spends his life trying to find love on the internet but his social awkwardness becomes clear when he meets his targets.
    The most incredible performance of the three, however, is Portakal, who has had no education and, therefore, faces a constant struggle to eek a living.
    The movie also weaves in the Turkish political scene and the part religion and upbringing have to play in Istanbul life.
    It is a curious film, though, because it tries to do so much it is ultimately quite disjointed.
    But, while it is not an easy holiday watch, it is worth a rating of 6/10. 

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252. Men On The Bridge


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