søndag 20. mai 2012

"A Journey Through All Terrains"


Year: 1982
Country: Turkey/Switzerland/France
Language: Turkish, Kurdish
Number: 686
Director: Yilmaz Güney, Serif Gören
Starring: Tarik Akan, Halil Ergün, Serif Sezer, Meral Orhonsay
Cannes: Golden Palm, FIPRESCI Prize, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury
IMDb: 7.9
RT score: N/A

In 1974, the famous kurdish actor and director Yilmaz Güney was arrested for the charge of murdering a judge. These accusations was of course false, he was basically arrested because of his political views that provoked the Turkish government. But the imprisonment didn't prevent him from keep on fighting. He actually directed three films, or in this case gave instructions to other directors, and the last one is probably his most famous and most provoking, Yol which in english means "the road".

Yol tells us the story about several Kurdish prisoners who is granted a furlough, only to find themselves lost in a place they don't recognize anymore or are not welcomed, some of them find their home occupied by Turks. For instance one of the prisoners, Mehmet Salih is become a dishonor for his wife's family after running away from his brother-in-law during the heist he was arrested for, a man that was shot and which he could have helped. And when he comes back, her family is not afraid to kill him at the spot. An other prisoner is Seyit Ali, who travels by horse to his home up in the cold mountains only to find out that his wife has been unfaithful to him by working as a prostitute. His family have kept her in chains until the day Seyit returns to kill her because of her disloyalty.

There's a lot of stories, some big, some small, but they all shows us the Turkish society from a Kurdish point of view. The problem is not only about the Turkish militant repression but also about the Kurdish family law and culture. Honor killing is quiet acceptable, but it's not only the Kurds, there's also honor killings in many culture inside many different religious branch. Yol was actually banned in Turkey until 1999 because of it's view towards the Turkish treatment of the Kurds, and the religious themes.

Yol is a great film. It's not only a honest film, (though I expected the Turkish prisons to be as brutal as in Midnight Express) it's also a great poetic and beautiful film, beautiful landscapes and cinematography, that really brings forth the Kurdish mythology. It's as mind blowing, as if we should have been in Russia. Like with the films most famous scene where Seyit carry his wife who is suppose to freeze to death but Seyit change his and tries to save her, but it's to late. Another great scene is when Ömer is playing with a dog is a meadow and having fun, he then stops and turn his eyes towards his village, when he suddenly hear shots. As beautiful photographed as a David Lean film and as political as a Costa-Gavras film, this is a must see film.

Grade: A

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