Big Man, Little Love
Büyük adam küçük ask
starring Dilan Erçetin, Sükran Güngör
written and directed by Handan Ipekçi
by Walter Chaw An unintentionally creepy, relentlessly political diatribe, Turkish director Handan Ipekçi's Hejar intends to tell the plight of the minority Kurdish--who aren't even allowed to speak their own language--in Turkey, through the deep-set eyes of a little girl orphaned by the majority's inhumanity to the Kurd downtrodden. Sort of like The Professional with an aging barrister in place of a highly-trained assassin, or The Omen and The Exorcist (complete with a bizarre semi-public carpet urination) in its startling musical stings and unmotivated subjective camera angles, Hejar is an over-scored, over-directed, and over-acted mish-mash of accidental implications and staid formula reiterations. When the parents of the frankly terrifying Kurdish kid Hejar (Dilan Erçetin) are murdered by overzealous Turkish cops, the cranky elderly lawyer Rifat (Sükran Güngör) takes her in, their type of subsequent bonding handled with a good deal more grace (and a good deal less proselytizing) in Jan Sverák's Kolya. When a Marlo Thomas hat functions as the Miracle Worker moment in which stubborn Hejar begins to learn the Turkish language that might save her from the murderous ruling class, I got up for a glass of water and a cold compress. An endlessly repetitive allegorical journey meant to illuminate the ways in which language defines ethnicity while waxing rhapsodic about the trials of being a glowering demon spawn, Hejar is memorable for the myriad ways in which filmmaking techniques can be misused to disastrous effect, and how a bad movie is sometimes forgiven its sins for being foreign and starring a supposedly cute child.
You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.