Toz Bezi (Dust Cloth)
Even if one hates a film like Toz Bezi (Dust Cloth) one cannot deny a certain level of respect and empathy on display towards its resolutely ordinary protagonists. Fortunately it’s not hateable, but in fact a solid festival-filler drama that, while unlikely to reach audiences far beyond the sophisticated confines of the Berlin Film Festival, will be appreciated for its modest success by those who stumble upon it.
Toz Bezi eschews any dramaturgical or cinematic flourishes for an even-keeled and serious-minded examination of working-class life in Turkey. We follow two ageing cleaning ladies of Kurdish ethnicity, Nesrin (Asiye Dinçsoy) and Hatan (Nazan Kesal), whose friendship offers a sanctuary from their milieu, which otherwise largely barren of compassion, aside from the half-baked sympathy of their wealthier clients, who offer more words of support but little else, often preferring to complain about their own more trivial problems. Nesrin, who has been made into a single mother, having grown tired of her lazy husband (only ever glimpsed from a distance), is envious of the extra income that the married Hatan receives through her own man, Sero (Mehmet Ozgur), while she struggles to get by. Meanwhile Hatan’s eroded patience and goodwill to the boorish Sero and her obnoxious son mean that she in turn is jealous of Nesrin’s sweet-natured young daughter Assim.
The proceedings, while gloomy, have an observational charge in showcasing these people’s lives, which include both universal and essentially national concerns. While the two leads excel, the supporting characters never feel particularly developed and function more as symbols of suffering inflicted upon women by men. This is an always timely and important subject, but its treatment in this regard also encapsulates the film’s limited ambition and scope, which means Toz Bezi rarely diverges from the comfort zone of earnest social drama. There is little here that surprises or truly moves. Instead, we observe with a steady, unchanging heartbeat, nodding appreciatively in our basic goodwill towards the overarching message. It’s a message that never falters but is also never expanded upon.
Toz Bezi (Dust Cloth) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more of our reviews and interviews from the festival here.
For further information about the Berlin Film Festival 2016 visit here.
Watch the trailer for Toz Bezi (Dust Cloth) here: