The Third Page

Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (competing), Aug. 6, 1999. Original title: Ucuncu sayfa. Running time: 94 MIN.

Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (competing), Aug. 6, 1999. Original title: Ucuncu sayfa. Running time: 94 MIN.

With: Ruhi Sari, Basak Kuklukaya, Cengiz Sezici, Serdar Orcin, Emrah Elciboga , Naci Tasdoven.

Turkish director Zeki Demirkubuz’s preoccupation with social outsiders locked in their own worlds finds a sharper balance than before in “The Third Page,” an intriguing drama with an almost Central Euro flavor in its ironic portrait of a born loser. Though the script is not fully developed, and flawed by some emotional excesses, this modest movie is worth a spin on the fest circuit, and is much more accessible than his dour second feature, “Innocence” (1997).

Penniless TV extra Isa (Ruhi Sari) has had better days: a hood beats him up and demands $ 50 in 24 hours; back at his seedy Istanbul apartment, Isa is about to blow his brains out when the landlord demands $ 600 of back rent. After shooting the landlord, he faints — then wakes up in bed and is surprised to find the police don’t charge him with murder. Next, he’s befriended by attractive neighbor Mergem (Basak Kuklukaya), who lives with her two kids and abusive, mostly absentee husband — or so the hapless Isa is led to believe as he becomes trapped in a web somewhere between Kafka and film noir. Perfs are fine.

The Third Page

(DRAMA -- TURKISH)

Production: A Mavi Filmcilik Co. production. (International sales: Festival of European Films, Ankara.) Produced, directed, written by Zeki Demirkubuz.

Crew: Camera (color), Ali Utku; editor, Nevzat Disiacik.

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