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Walking After Midnight

Amarginally soapy but generally well-intentioned lesbian melodrama from veteran Turkish director Atif Yilmaz, "Walking After Midnight" springs few surprises but is held together by a studied perf from actress Meral Oguz as a middle-aged doc with the hots for a long-lost friend. Well received at its Turin screening, the pic could also stroll into other specialized situations.

Amarginally soapy but generally well-intentioned lesbian melodrama from veteran Turkish director Atif Yilmaz, “Walking After Midnight” springs few surprises but is held together by a studied perf from actress Meral Oguz as a middle-aged doc with the hots for a long-lost friend. Well received at its Turin screening, the pic could also stroll into other specialized situations.

Oguz plays Nilgun, a divorced doctor from Istanbul who’s posted to a small town, where one of her jobs is giving the local hookers medical checkups. One of them turns out to be Havva (Lale Mansur), her best friend from childhood days who never made it up the career ladder.

When Havva falls sick, Nilgun puts her up at her apartment, and the two eventually become an item. Duo later set up home together in Istanbul, where big-city professional and sexual pressures start to strain the relationship.

Aside from a ridiculous first sex scene (in which a drunken Nilgun asks Havva to show her what men do to her in the cathouse), the script skirts most meller pitfalls without bringing much new to the table.

Pat ending, in which Nilgun returns to the heterosexual fold, and Havva, after being seduced by a lesbian neighbor, returns to the streets, may grate with some gay auds. Pic’s target audience is, however, broadband commercial. Casting of the two leads avoids traditional glamour, with Mansur’s unconventional looks paralleling Oguz’s middle-aged, career-woman appearance. As in all of Yilmaz’s movies, tech credits are handsome on all fronts.

Walking After Midnight

(TURKISH)

Production: A Yesilcam Filmcilik production. Directed by Atif Yilmaz. Screenplay, Yilmaz , Yildirim Turker, Osman Calli.

Crew: Camera (color), Metin Erabaci; editor, Mevlut Kocak; music, Selim Atakan; art direction, Kezban Arca Batibeki. Reviewed in Istanbul, April 14, 1994. (In From Sodom to Hollywood, Intl. Gay Film Festival, Turin, Italy.) Running time: 93 MIN.

With: With: Meral Oguz, Lale Mansur, Deniz Turkali, Selcuk Ozer.

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