First-time filmmaker Asli Özge has picked up a number of local awards for this low-key, loosely political docudrama following three men whose lives revolve around Istanbul’s massive Bosphorus Bridge. Two of the lead actors – teenage flower-seller Fikret Portakal and put-upon cabbie Umut Ilker – play versions of themselves, while the third, Murat Tokgöz, plays his real-life traffic cop brother, thanks to a Turkish law which states that policemen can’t moonlight as actors. Özge’s directing style is appropriately unobtrusive, giving his actors plenty of freedom to improvise while still allowing for moments of breathtaking visual beauty. Each of the central performances is impressive, with young Portakal taking the honours as sad-eyed Fikret, whose lack of education leaves him trapped in a demeaning, dead-end job. But with the three leads kept separate from one another throughout, the film tends to feel episodic: a series of moments, some funny, some sad, which never quite coalesce into a compelling narrative.
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