Tuzdan kaide (The Pillar of Salt)
Throughout our lives, we venture out from the family structure to find our own identity and our own family. This search may be the desire for security but it is also a hunt for something missing in ourselves.
Burak Çevik’s debut feature film depicts a 30-something pregnant woman (Zinnure Türe) looking for her lost sister. She revisits her sister’s old haunts and is finally reunited with a woman old enough to be her mother. This head-scratching relationship possess mystical qualities as they speak in a poetic language to each other about their mysterious connection.
The protagonist dwells in what seems to be a cave and converses with a laconic confidant, sometimes naked in a stone tub. Are they real? Are they lovers? The narrative information is scarce, the director confuses obfuscating story with building a psychological exploration. The movie compensates with alluring settings and disjointed camera work.
The voyage takes us to retro TV repair shops, tenebrous restaurants and caves lit by blue light. The murky underworld the story takes place in offers some powerful shots but can’t do enough to make this anything more than a well-polished student film. The consistent visual pattern of two women facing each other is repeated to insinuate duality, reaching for the psychological depth of Ingmar Bergman’s Persona. The protagonist is stoic, almost inhuman, perhaps to imply that she is merely a figment or a symbol for someone else’s psychological complex. The scant structure spends more time luxuriating in its environments than developing ideas.
The Pillar of Salt loses the audience quickly by getting lost in its own mystery. The film doesn’t do enough narratively to move past its tenuous plot to venture into arthouse territory. Regardless, the themes and visuals mark this out as an interesting debut from a promising new voice.
Tuzdan kaide (The Pillar of Salt) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
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