Review: ‘I Saw the Sun’

Turkey's foreign-language film Oscar submission, "I Saw the Sun," is an unsubtle meller centered on two families of Kurdish refugees.

Turkey’s foreign-language film Oscar submission, “I Saw the Sun,” is an unsubtle meller centered on two families of Kurdish refugees. Pic’s nondescript lensing, leaning toward wannabe Hollywood stylings, hardly warrants kudos; ditto the scripting, with its anti-feminist stance and wafer-thin play for tolerance. “Sun” took a rosy $12 million-plus on home turf but is strictly for local play.

A Kurdish village on the Iranian border is evacuated by the military in order to root out separatist terrorists. Ramo (helmer Mahsun Kirmizigul) and his family go to Istanbul, while Davut (Altan Erkekli) and his kin are smuggled to Norway. Neither clan adjusts well to its new location, though at least in Norway there are positive developments. In Istanbul, Ramo’s family falls apart: Dutiful wife Havar (Demet Evgar) is hospitalized after too many pregnancies, while effeminate brother Kadri (Cemal Toktas) rebels by falling in with transsexual Cansu (Cem Aksakal). Tragedy brings forth sweeping emotions, but everything feels forced.

I Saw the Sun

Turkey

Production

A Boyut Film production. Produced by Murat Tokat. Executive producer, Menderes Demir. Directed, written by Mahsun Kirmizigul.

Crew

Camera (color), Soykut Turan; editor, Hamdi Deniz; music, Kirmizigul, Yildiray Gurgen; production designer, Veli Kahraman; costume designer, Funda Buyuktunalioglu. Reviewed at Cairo Film Festival (competing), Nov. 11, 2009. (Also in Tokyo Film Festival -- Winds of Asia/Middle East.) Original title: Gunesi gordum. Running time: 106 MIN.

With

Ali Surmeli, Alper Kul, Altan Erkekli, Bugra Gulsoy, Cem Aksakal, Cemal Toktas, Cezmi Baskin, Cihat Tamer, Demet Evgar, Deniz Oral, Emre Kinay, Erol Demiroz, Erol Gunaydin, Hande Subasi, Iter Esin, Macit Sonkan, Mahsun Kirmizigul, Menderes Samancilar, Murat Unalmis, Nurseli Idiz, Sarp Apak, Serif Sezer, Yildiz Kultur, Yigit Ozsener, Zafer Ergin.
With: Ali Surmeli, Alper Kul, Altan Erkekli, Bugra Gulsoy, Cem Aksakal, Cemal Toktas, Cezmi Baskin, Cihat Tamer, Demet Evgar, Deniz Oral, Emre Kinay, Erol Demiroz, Erol Gunaydin, Hande Subasi, Iter Esin, Macit Sonkan, Mahsun Kirmizigul, Menderes Samancilar, Murat Unalmis, Nurseli Idiz, Sarp Apak, Serif Sezer, Yildiz Kultur, Yigit Ozsener, Zafer Ergin.

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