Review: ‘Where’s Firuze?’

A broadly played, kitschy-colored musical comedy set in the Istanbul recording scene, "Where's Firuze?" packs solid entertainment values into its crowded, multicharacter plot but needs tightening to work with non-Turkish auds. Good fun, without being campy, this first feature by Ezel Akay could work as a cultish fest item with half an hour hacked from its running time. Locally, it drew a healthy 1 million admissions earlier this year.

A broadly played, kitschy-colored musical comedy set in the Istanbul recording scene, “Where’s Firuze?” packs solid entertainment values into its crowded, multicharacter plot but needs tightening to work with non-Turkish auds. Good fun, without being campy, this first feature by Ezel Akay — who’s worked as a producer on quality fare like “Journey to the Sun” and “Boats out of Watermelon Rinds” — could work as a cultish fest item with half an hour hacked from its running time. Locally, it drew a healthy 1 million admissions earlier this year.

The titular Firuze (Demet Akbag) is a mysterious, silver-wigged beauty of apparent wealth who takes charge of the career (and love life) of neophyte singer Ferhat (Ozcan Deniz) when goofy music producers Hayri (Haluk Bilginer) and Orhan (Sebnem Donmez) screw up financially. Fairy tale element in the story fits with the pic’s surreal flavor, which harks back to the golden days of commercial Turkish cinema in the ’70s. Ethnic-style songs are attractive, and production values consistently high, climaxing in a well-staged finale at a ballroom wedding party that unites the whole cast.

Where's Firuze?

Turkey

Production

A UIP Turkey release of an IFR, CineMedya production. (International sales: UIP Turkey, Istanbul.) Produced by Ezel Akay, Yonca Erturk Canikligil. Directed by Ezel Akay. Screenplay, Levent Kazak; story, Ozcan Deniz.

Crew

Camera (color), Hayk Kirakosyan; editor, Mustafa Preseva; music, Sunay Ozgur, Akay; production designer, Hakan Yarkin; art director, Ahmet Ozlemis; costume designer, Naz Erayda. Reviewed at Istanbul Film Festival (national competition), April 24, 2004. Running time: 139 MIN.

With

Haluk Bilginer, Ozcan Deniz, Demet Akbag, Cem Ozer, Sebnem Donmez, Ruhi Sari, Ata Demirer.
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