Monday, January 2, 2012

Anchor Song

Hayat Var/My Only Sunshine (2008) - Erdem
The film begins with a 14 year old school girl Hayat (Elit Iscan) waiting on the dock for her father's little motor boat. It's a choppy ride home, passing by gigantic cargo ships in a busy Istanbul harbor. Erdem sets up his main character's daily routine early on, providing some breathtaking scenery.

Hayat, her no-good father and her bedridden, childish grandfather live in a shack near the water. They barely eke out a living by her father's peddling- using his boat to transport drugs and prostitutes to the sailors while always being under the threat of immediate police arrest. But her dysfunctional home life, bullying at school and sexual harassment from a sleazy shop keeper don't seem to faze Hayat. What's admirable about her is her defiance to the world that is pigeonholing her. Even though she is attention starved, she doesn't want to be treated like a child, nor she wants to be a full pledged woman (even though she is still a thumb sucker and physically on the cusp of womanhood).

Iscan's Hayat is radiantly beautiful and the camera adores her. Erdem takes his time to create a rich character. Hayat Var is filled with the sound constant foghorns, streets, animals, water, breaking glass and Hayat's humming. Also it's beautiful to look at from start to finish. With its hopeful and exhilarating ending, I didn't mind its slow pace.

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