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Sunday, July 24, 2011

315. Bal (Honey)

    Mrs W left me at Sheffield Showroom Screen 3 to continue my Sunday marathon with the Turkish film Bal.
    In fact, she wasn't the only one who decided they didn't need my company. I was literally the only person watching the movie.
    But that should not be a reflection of its quality because it is a poignant, rather touching movie.
    It surrounds the life of a quiet six-year-old boy Yusuf.
    Yusuf, played superbly by young Bora Altas, is bedeviled by a stutter which marks him out for ridicule at school.
    Meanwhile, he is totally devoted to his hard-working father (Erdal Besikcioglu).
    The pair have a wonderful relationship and dad helps his son with his speech by encouraging him to whisper.
    Erdal makes his money by collecting honey from hives and Yusuf takes a wide-eyed job from helping his dad in the work.
    Director Semih Kaplanoglu does a fine job of seeing the world through a child's eyes.
    It is so charming, indeed almost tearjerking, how Yusuf is so desperate to please his parents and his teacher.
    In return, his dad shows great kindness.
    The problem is that both of their lives have huge obstacles and that's what brings Bal away from the land of schmaltz.
    There are no easy solutions and they are simply not offered in the way that Hollywood might.
    Bal also offers an interesting insight into the simple life of those in the Turkish countryside.
    The family lives in a religious and very respectful community. They have to be at one with nature because it provides their livelihood.
    It also strikes a chord because Yusuf has freedoms that children so young have not had in this country for 40 years.
    He makes his own way to school, he wanders off to play in the woods and he helps his dad by doing things which would be considered far too dangerous for one so young here.
    Bal was one of those movies which won't stick out in my memory from 2011 but was good enough for me to recommend - even if it is just for the performance of young Altas.
    I'm giving it 7/10.

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315. Bal (Honey)

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