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Summer Love

Charming but slight, "Summer Love" is what its title promises -- a beautifully shot coming-of-ager centered on a 12-year-old girl in provincial southeast Turkey. Well played by a large cast of veteran stage talents and younger thesps, pic positively drips with sumptuous landscapes and ethnic color.

Charming but slight, “Summer Love” is what its title promises — a beautifully shot coming-of-ager centered on a 12-year-old girl in provincial southeast Turkey. Well played by a large cast of veteran stage talents and younger thesps, pic positively drips with sumptuous landscapes and ethnic color (especially local Alawi culture), signaling potentially healthy sales on European TV channels.

It’s summer ’73, in the city of Malatya, and rebellious young beanpole Esma Hanim (Ece Eksi), following disastrous grades, is sent off to the rural home of her father’s army buddy while the rest of her family heads for the seaside. Among all the ornery old country women, Esma finds a soulmate in Saliha (Lale Mansur), who rebelled against an arranged marriage — and a potential boyfriend in handsome tractor driver Huseyin (Cologne-born Luk Piyes); but some hard life lessons await her. Piyes is restrained after his debut as a cocky young hoodlum in Lars Becker’s “Kanak Attack,” but it’s the young Eksi (like a young, prettier Charlotte Gainsbourg) and the mellow Mansur who give the film some heart beneath the rich visuals by German d.p. Juergen Juerges (“Code Unknown”).

Summer Love

Turkey-Hungary

  • Production: A Warner Bros. Turkey release of a Filma-Cass presentation of a Filma-Cass, Kedi Film (Turkey)/Objektiv Film Studio (Hungary) production, with support of Efes Pilsen, Turkish Culture Ministry. (International sales: Warner Bros., Istanbul.) Produced by Mine Vargi. Executive producer, Yavuz Bayraktaroglu. Co-producer, Janos Rozsa. Directed by Baris Pirhasan. Screenplay, Gul Dirican, Pirhasan.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Juergen Juerges; editor, Adnan Elial; music, Mare Nostrum, Ulas Ozdemir; art director, Mustafa Ziya Ulkenciler. Reviewed on videocassette, London, May 5, 2002. (In Istanbul Film Festival, national competition.) Running time: 106 MIN.
  • With: <B> With: </B>Ece Eksi, Lale Mansur, Luk Piyes, Ayla Algan, Aysenil Samlioglu, Burak Sergen, Cezmi Baskin, Hale Akinci, Kemal Inci, Serra Yilmaz, Serif Sezer, Taner Birsel, Tomris Incer, Tuncel Kurtiz, Ugur Polat, Ali Okcelik, Elif Can, Esin Aslan, Esma Madra, Meri Israel, Yunus Sirinsoy. (Turkish dialogue.)
  • Music By: