Review: ‘Please Don’t Go’

Based on a famous novel set in eastern Turkey in the '30s and '40s, "Please Don't Go" is a gentle story about two gentle women --- a beautiful, mentally retarded girl and the housekeeper who looks after her. Set against the backdrop of armies and distant wars, this period pic is surprisingly engrossing, thanks to fine acting by the principals and the light touch of helmer Tunc Basaran. Co-scripted by author Ayla Kutlu, the film lacks the flash for major festivals but could play well at smaller events and film weeks, particularly women's fests. Triandaphilis (Olivia Bonamy), the blossoming teenage daughter of a rich arms dealer (Fikret Hakan), is ignored by her socialite mom but mothered by the warmhearted Sultan (Isik Yenersu). Despite the girl's mental handicap, her beauty attracts the attention of a young French soldier. Sultan seconds their love, but shifting borders separate the pair. Just as the family is frantically packing to leave the country, Triandaphilis runs away to find her lover. Brokenhearted, Sultan and her husband stay behind to wait for the girl.

Yenersu conveys Sultan’s loving, selfless disposition and the affection that binds her and Triandaphilis with steady conviction, never falling into pathos or sentimentality. Bonamy shows remarkable sensitivity in the role of the girl, going beyond fresh good looks to give her an otherworldly gracefulness that sets her apart from others. Helmer Basaran uses extreme delicacy in depicting this intimate female universe where the men are abstract figures who flit by between wars.

Only false note here is the far too heavy musical commentary, which seems determined to push the pic’s gossamer sentiments into bathos. Other tech credits are fine.

Please Don't Go

Turkish

Production

A Magnum Film production. (International sales: Magnum Film, Istanbul.) Produced by Jale Basaran. Directed by Tunc Basaran. Screenplay, Ayla Kutlu, Macit Koper, Basaran, based on a novel by Kutlu.

Crew

Camera (color), Colin Mounier; editor, Hilmi Gaven; music, Yalcin Tura; sound, Dolby. Reviewed at Istanbul Film Festival, April 11, 1997. Running time: 107 MIN.

With

Sultan ..... Isik Yenersu Triandaphilis ..... Olivia Bonamy M. Antoine ..... Fikret Hakan
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