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Star - Tayanç Ayaydin
Genre - Comedy
County - Turkey (subtitles)
Certificate - 12a
Run Time - 93 minutes
Blockbusters - £0.99 per night
Amazon - £.00 DVD (£Blue Ray)
Director Ben Hopkins became the first foreigner to win an award at the Turkish National Film Awards with this movie, 'The Market: A Tale of Trade' well worthy of that honor, beautiful performances in likewise locations by the little known cast making this one of my favorite foreign films of the year. Tayanç Ayaydin is a revelation in the lead and one of the most charismatic and natural actors I have seen in a film for a very long time. The other star of the movie is those enigmatic Turkish mountains and sprawling valleys, a perfect compliment to such a charming film.
Tayanç Ayaydin ... Mihram
Genco Erkal ... Fazil
Senay Aydin ... Elif
Hakan Sahin ... Mustafa
Rojîn Ulker ... Singer
It's the early 1990s...
Thirtysomething Mihram (Tayanç Ayaydin) is a bad Muslim. He has a good heart but it's not in a good place. A small time Turkish trader and entrepreneur based in the mountainous south he spends most of his meager profits on booze, cards and cigarettes, much to the simmering annoyance of his incredibly patient wife Elif (Senay Aydin). She knows he is a good man and one day Allah will call upon him to get his act in order but she has been waiting a while for that day.
Mihram's trading skills are questionable. After selling his neighbor some TV cable to replace the cable he has had stolen, it appears the stolen cable is what he is selling his neighbor, a perfect fit. But it's the only life he knows and a deal is a deal, the two men laughing it off. His latest plan is to be in on the ground for the growing and revolutionary mobile telephone business, trying to get some money together to buy a license and start selling them, fellow Delboy Mustafa (Hakan Sahin) showing great interest in that side of things, offering Mihram the chance to work for him, a much bigger operator and shark.
Although Elif is happy with his plan to open a shop to sell phones she is happier still when their local doctor asks Mirham to secure some medicine for her surgery. She has heard Mihram is the man to get anything and gives him the money to procure her some from Istanbul, entrusting him with $150. Elif sees this as the way for Mihram to find his way back to being a good Muslim whereas Mihram sees it as $150 to do more deals with and get the medicine on the cheap in neighboring Azerbaijan, his friend Fazil (Genco Erkal) a long for the ride, but temptation sure to get the better of Mihram on that dusty road.
Like any bazaar, the Market has something for everybody and I really enjoyed this one, a beautiful looking film about the simple life of doing right to your religion and family in the hope of good fortune in return, how the third world has to live. It's all delightfully led by Tayanç Ayaydin enchanting lead performance as the handsome bearded scoundrel, owning this gentle rural comedy from start to finish, the twinkle in his eye a hint of the mischief to come. It's engaging, ruefully funny stuff and never lets up with the subtle gentle jokes as our hero battles with his demons to make things right with his wife and God on his cathartic road trip.
I tend to watch obscure foreign movies because they are far more likely to be driven by a central charismatic lead performance like his, Hollywood always be-the-numbers stuff these days to maximize the profits. In the Middle East they tend not to worry about that stuff and just make movies that compliment their land and people with a few home truths yet keeping the reverence. Tayanç Ayaydin just has that magic and appeal that the best cinema films seem to need to win the audience and he doesn't put a foot wrong here. There are so many actors like this out there in world cinema and yet we only ever see them now and then when one or two of their movies sneak onto the bottom shelf at Blockbusters.
Communication and globalization are the main themes to this gentle comedy; be it from a mobile telephone or their Gods, peasant rural Turkey's distinct lack of modern telephone allowing for many moments of conversational farce here. It's unimaginable to think, but before the 1990s that was indeed the case and few people had mobile phones anywhere in the world, let alone the internet and Facebook. But once mobile communication and the internet arrived then the world changed quickly and the Arab Spring eventually sprouted. The suggestion here is maybe that undermined not only the art of conversation but Islam itself as Allah no longer had the answers to an increasingly modern world. All religions become outdated in the end, right?
Like our main protagonists rusty old van, the film meanders along the stunning enigmatic rural locations and situations with purpose and contemplation. There is a quirky and oddball thread here that gets a little wearing where this folk singer lady (Rojîn Ulker) pops up and starts signing Bollywood style about a previous scenes in the film or tries to express the actors emotions through song and dance there and then, a bit like that jester in the Blackadder credits. But it all adds to the films delightful quirkiness and makes it a very Turkish experience, which is what you want when you watch a Turkish movie. Its just one of those foreign films that if it pops up Film4 or BBC2 you should seriously consider recording as it's what a film should be. A personal journey from the head to the heart.
Imdb.com - 7.0/10.0 (522votes)
Metacritc.com - 90% critic's approval rating
Rottentomatos.com -100% critic's approval rating
The Daily Mirror -'Subtitled and with laughs of the subtlest kind, Ben Hopkins has crafted a deliciously funny cautionary tale on the perils of greed and how globalization can be a heartless mistress'.
Financial Times -'Tayanç Ayaydin makes a winning loser as Mihram, who uses Charlie Chaplin pluck to escape a Willie Loman plot'.
NY Times - 'A story that goes far beyond what it initially suggests. Explores many complex issues and the changing social and economic dynamics currently taking place in Turkey'.
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