Working-Class Men, Longing for Change in a Restless Land
‘Koprudekiler’ (‘Men on the Bridge’), a Drama Set in Istanbul
Fikret Portakal in “Koprudekiler” (“Men on the Bridge”), set in Istanbul. The title characters are linked by the long hours they spend on the Bosporus Bridge.
By ANDY WEBSTER
There’s palpable verisimilitude in Asli Ozge’s “Koprudekiler” (“Men on the Bridge”), a powerful portrait of working-class Istanbul that artfully suggests a wellspring of found moments. Quietly, steadily, it gathers a resonance belying its slice-of-life scale.
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Initially intent on a documentary, Ms. Ozge wrote a script influenced by the lives of her cast members (mostly nonactors, all convincing). The uneducated Fikret, a teenager who illegally sells roses in traffic, aspires to a steady job but flails briefly as a busboy. Trapped in a life of Dumpster-diving subsistence, he finds comfort only in hip-hop.
Umut, married to the restless Cemile, drives a cab in sometimes 24-hour stretches. Against a backdrop of Western-style advertisements and television images, the couple struggle, confined by gender roles and a lack of education.
Murat is a nationalistic policeman in search of a spouse online. What links the men are the long hours they spend on the Bosporus Bridge, the grindingly congested suspension bridge linking Europe and Asia.
Murat, an observant Muslim, regards the Kurdistan Workers’ Party as a terrorism organization and wants its members barred from Parliament; his dates with women are fraught with agonizing pauses and his self-centered utterances.
At a Republic Day parade, Fikret and his friends watch military jets overhead and a procession of tanks. “I wish there was a war,” a friend says, more for employment, you suspect, than for patriotism. Cemile seeks only independence for herself.
Everywhere in Istanbul, it seems, there is a longing, a need for change in a country balanced precipitously between East and West, and past and future.
Opens on Wednesday in Manhattan.
Written and directed by Asli Ozge; director of photography, Emre Erkmen; edited by Vessela Martschewski, Aylin Zoi Tinel and Christof Schertenleib; produced by Fabian Massah and Ms. Ozge. At the Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters, Museum of Modern Art. In Turkish, with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 27 minutes. This film is not rated.
WITH: Fikret Portakal (Fikret), Murat Tokgoz (Murat), Umut Ilker (Umut) and Cemile Ilker (Cemile).
A version of this review appeared in print on June 20, 2012, on page C6 of the New York edition with the headline: Working-Class Men, Longing for Change in a Restless Land.
via ‘Koprudekiler’ (‘Men on the Bridge’), a Drama Set in Istanbul – NYTimes.com.