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This review is from: Three Monkeys [DVD]  (DVD)
I was hooked by this film. It's a compelling story: a selfish flight from personal responsibility forms the seed for a thin vine of desire which eventually cracks the foundations of a working class family. The casting and performances are first rate - Hatice Aslan as the wife and mother, wields a striking, classical beauty and maintains a haunted presence. The film revolves around and rests on her complex ambivalence.
As much as I love the film and wish to celebrate Mr. Ceylan's familiar, gorgeous imagery, I believe that the images themselves raised more questions with the occasionally overwrought visual touches than helped to serve the film. This is a more arresting-looking film than either "Distant" or "Climates." Mr. Ceylan's typically stripped-down narrative is well served by his flawless photographer's eye for composition - his pacing is perfect, echoing the authority of a master like Abbas Kairostami.
However, in a few instances the manner in which filters/post-production/visual effects were used I found distracting. In a lesser filmmaker, or one whose stories are less contemplative one could ignore these touches. In this story it made the narrative feel perhaps less important than the images. Or there was less concern about the tale than taking certain risks with the images. Whatever the reason, I fell out of the story at those moments, noticing the filmmaker manipulating the image, albeit to create something remarkable. I don't wish to imply that these rare moments ruined a great film; simply that it made me care less.
All this points to a more complicated discussion about photographing emotional states and capturing that indefinable, relational electricity between characters, which ultimately is very personal. On it's own terms, "Three Monkeys" remains a powerful film and stylistic risks aside, I've enjoyed watching it several times.
I highly recommend it.