The Yusuf Trilogy DVD
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Directed by Semih Kaplanoglu
Produced in 2007-10
Main Language - Turkish with English subtitles
Bora Altas, Nejat Isler, Melih Selcuk
A great cinematic trilogy, containing Bal (Honey, 2010 - available separately), Süt (Milk, 2008) and Yumurta (Egg, 2007). These are sensuous and searching rites of passage, says Gareth Evans.
Despite ever-growing levels of film production across the globe – thanks in the main to affordable digital technologies, the emergence of genuinely distinctive voices in world cinema remains a rarity. Beyond a striking one-off, it’s harder than ever to build a body of work in this far from secure arena.
Which is what makes the presence of Turkey’s Semih Kaplanoglu all the more welcome. Following his compatriots Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Reha Erdem from festival acclaim to wider exhibition, Kaplanoglu’s now secured his place as one of the finest contemporary filmmakers anywhere with the astonishing Yusuf biographical trilogy. Told in reverse order, it follows the eponymous character, a poet in middle age (Egg; Yumurta) back through his student years (Milk; Süt) to his numinous childhood in the deep forests with his wild-beekeeper father (Honey; Bal).
All three films share a profound sense of the complexity of parent / child relationships, but locate these unfolding dynamics within a wider social context, as a traditionally rural Turkey faces rapid modernization, with men and women facing serious challenges to their expected identities and roles. But if this makes the films sound like dry exercises in social realism, think again. Luminously photographed, and extraordinarily scored, these are strikingly embodied expressions of being in the world - profoundly sensuous, searching and beautiful rites of passage.
Nowhere is this better realized than in Bal, comparable to Erice’s Spirit of the Beehive in its envisioning of the mystery of childhood. Here, the ambiguities of the natural world – and humanity’s threatening of its ancient order - shape a revelatory journey from innocence to experience, one grounded in the specificities of place but resonant and relevant to us all. Claiming the 2010 Berlin Golden Bear for best film, it marks the triumphant culmination of one of the great cinematic series of recent years.
Gareth Evans on 26th August 2011
Author of 11 reviews
One of the great cinematic trilogies of recent years. Following the character of Yusuf from his life as an adult back to his childhood, The Yusuf Trilogy contains Bal (Honey, 2010), Sut (Milk, 2008) and Yumurta (Egg, 2007).
Yumurta / Egg: Poet Yusuf returns to his childhood hometown, which he hasn't visited for years, upon his mother's death. A young girl, Ayla awaits him in a crumbling house. Yusuf has been unaware of the existence of this distant relation who had been living with his mother for five years. Ayla has something to ask of Yusuf. Yusuf is obliged to perform the sacrifice his mother Zehra had been prevented by death from fulfilling.
Sut / Milk: Recent high school graduate Yusuf is uncertain about his future in the provincial countryside. Writing poetry is his greatest passion and some of his poems are starting to be published in obscure literary journals. But for the time being, he continues working in his single mother's village milk business, also with an uncertain future. Up until now, Yusuf's widowed mother Zehra has focused all her attention on her only child. Still a young and beautiful woman, Zehra is having a discreet relationship with the town station master. His mother's affair, and his being named unfit for military service due to a childhood illness, make Yusuf even more anxious about making the sudden jump toward manhood.
Bal / Honey: A beautiful film which details the simple and subdued life of a family living in rural Anatolia. It joins the ranks of the great cinematic depictions of childhood. Yusuf is a painfully shy and reserved little boy who can only express himself to his beloved father Yakup. Yakup earns a modest living by collecting honey from the woods surrounding the family's remote home, while his wife Zehra runs the family home and Yusuf spends his days attending the local school. But tensions build when the honey crop fails and Zehra becomes increasingly worried that Yusuf is struggling to learn to read. Then, one evening, Yakup does not return from the forest...
Publisher: Drakes Avenue
Length: 302 mins
Cat No: DAP7814
Format: DVD Colour
- 3 discs
Semih Kaplanoglu, 2010
An award-winning Turkish drama, Bal (Honey) details the simple and subdued life of a family livin...