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A teenage baklava apprentice aspires to be a master baker in Angelos Abazoglou’s attractive hybrid “Mustafa’s Sweet Dreams.” Though pic is billed as a docu, the genre term can’t be properly applied since large sections are obviously scripted or the result of exercises whose lines were repeated for the camera. The mix is an unbalanced blend of fiction and reality, successful in parts rather than as a whole. Boasting a charismatic lead and brimming with tantalizing images, the pic can satisfy hungry fest auds who don’t scrutinize the ingredients too carefully.

The eastern Turkish city of Gaziantep is famous for its baklava, and Mustafa, 16, full of youth’s impetuosity and impatience, is champing at the bit to graduate from apprentice to master. Scenes at his uncle Kadir’s bakery are a magical glimpse into a world of gossamer-like sheets of dough and luscious pistachios, the air thick with flour. Unable to await promotion, Mustafa heads to Istanbul alone, expecting to fast-track his rise to the top, but life in the big city isn’t so accommodating. Early scenes convey an intimacy that Abazoglou nicely contrasts with almost voyeuristic lensing in the capital.

Mustafa’s Sweet Dreams


  • Production: A Cyclope Prod. presentation of a Cyclope production, in association with Al Jazeera English, with the participation of Arte Geie, ERT. (International sales: Taskovski Films, London.) Produced by Olga Abazoglou, Gerard Martin. Co-producer, Flora Gregory. Directed, written by Angelos Abazoglou.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Laurent Fenart, Giorgos Giannelis; editors, Fanny Ziozia, Dimosthenis Raptis. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Generation 14plus), Feb. 17, 2012 (Also in SXSW Film Festival -- SXGlobal; Thessaloniki Documentary Festival.) Running time: 83 MIN.
  • With: (Turkish dialogue)