Review: ‘The Play’

Nine peasant women in the village of Arslankoy, southern central Turkey, achieve varying amounts of personal liberation in "The Play," a bracing, good-natured portrait of rural community via a theatrical performance based on their own lives. Standout docu in the recent Istanbul festival is perfect fare for cultural TV slots.

Nine peasant women in the village of Arslankoy, southern central Turkey, achieve varying amounts of personal liberation in “The Play,” a bracing, good-natured portrait of rural community via a theatrical performance based on their own lives. Standout docu in the recent Istanbul festival is perfect fare for cultural TV slots.

After laboring by day in the fields, the women come together, under the aegis of local school principal Huseyin Arslankoylu, to mount a play he’s written based on their own stories. It’s a generic, two-generational yarn of village life, with a folkloric flavor (tough childbirth, spousal abuse, eloping children, etc.), that becomes a call for change mixed with skeletal agitprop. For one woman, the forceful Ummuye Kocak, it’s “a matter of life and death” to get “our message across”; for others, it’s more an enjoyable social occasion that gives them a new self-confidence. Documaker Pelin Esmer, a sociology major, stands back and lets the women do the (considerable) talking as they get increasingly competitive and minor sparks fly, climaxing in their big night before a massed local audience. DV credits are fine, and sense of place is acute.

The Play

Turkey

Production

An Umut Sanat release of a Pelin Esmer production. (International sales: Umut Sanat, Istanbul.) Produced, directed, written, edited by Esmer.

Crew

Camera (color, DigiBeta), Esmer, Mustafa Unlu, Ozlem Ozbek; music, Mazlum Cimen. Reviewed on videodisc, London, May 1, 2005. (In Istanbul Film Festival, Documentaries.) Running time: 70 MIN.

With

Behiye Yanik, Cennet Gunes, Fatma Fatih, Fatma Kahraman, Huseyin Arslankoylu, Naside Kahraman, Nesime Kahraman, Saniye Cengiz, Ummu Kurt, Ummuye Kocak, Zeynep Fatih.
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading