EMINE – ‘But Muzeyyen’: Love andor literature?

‘But Muzeyyen’: Love andor literature?Could this be the year of the unstoppable transformation of certain Turkish actors into charming romantic leads?First it was RIfat Iungar with andldquoDeniz Seviyesiandrdquo (Across the Sea), then we had Sarp Apak in andldquoKarIIIk Kasetandrdquo (Mixtape), and now weandrsquove got Erdal BeIikioIlu as Arif with andldquoFakat Muzeyyen Bu Derin Bir Tutkuandrdquo (But Muzeyyen, Thatandrsquos the Deepest Desire).Some might remember BeIikioIlu as a rough and cool police officer in the popular TV crime series andldquoBehzat andrdquo So itandrsquos a quaint surprise to see him taking on a much softer, reflective and confused role as the desperate romantic.

Yet this is a wise choice by the filmandrsquos producers, for BeIikioIlu already has a huge fan base with the ladies, and admittedly he successfully carries this entire film on his shoulders despite a title that implies the forceful existence of its central female characterThe film is directed by iIdem Vitrinel, who won the award for best director at the 2011 Antalya AltIn Portakal Film Festival with her social drama about two rival women, andldquoeriye Kalanandrdquo (What Remains).Loosely adapted for the screen by Ceyda AIar and Vitrinel from Ilhami Algrandrsquos novella of the same name, andldquoMuzeyyenandrsquosandrdquo stylistic inspiration could be romantic literature itself for it seems the beauty of articulating passionate feelings, and the masculine-originated adoration of the concept of the andldquofemale deity,andrdquo is much more the filmandrsquos focal point as opposed to the experiential truths of relationships.

Arif is a writer moving from one affair to another while seemingly watching himself from the outside, instead of living in the moment. Heandrsquos not a bad guy, but he never seems to be swept away by any woman he meets.

All the while he is fascinated by the various women around him and the psyches they represent. Arifandrsquos musings are relayed as essay-like voiceovers throughout the film and some of his most, letandrsquos say andldquoprofoundandrdquo sentences, are typewritten on the screen — a very astute choice to remind the viewer of the interdisciplinary relationship between filmic and literary mediums (thankfully this choice never becomes didactic or superficial).

But of course one day his world is shaken! During a boat-wedding — a particularly favorite location of Turkish romance films these days — he meets the mysterious yet fascinating Muzeyyen (a very sultry Sezin AkbaIoIullarI). Is she the woman of his dreams? Or is she just the representation of what he expects of andldquotheandrdquo woman? Muzeyyen seems to be a very strong, independent yet also a sensual woman, but who is she really? The glimpses we get of her are shown to us through Arifandrsquos point of view, and she remains mysterious throughout.

They move in together and all is wonderful until Muzeyyenandrsquos ample list of exes start showing up. Like Arif, they all seem to remain fascinated by her, placing her on a pedestal.

But maybe it is that one particular man that she will never forget? It eventually dawns upon Arif that he might never understand her choices, her carefree attitude and her insistence on never allowing him to fully penetrate the depths of her mind and heart. But this isnandrsquot really about Muzeyyen, is it? Itandrsquos all about the deep passion that Arif can finally feel for someone and in the long run, his choice of whether to follow his lust or opt for something saferandldquoMuzeyyenandrsquosandrdquo primary theme might be unrequited love (a state of being that works well with local audiences brought up with YeIilam) told through a contemporary spin, but it is most successful in its portrayal of an urbanite man that experiences the growing pains of becoming an adult — kudos to Muzeyyen, who is not a wholly breathing character herself but the epitome of the inaccessible heartbreaker Perhaps initially the characterization of Muzeyyen might seem a tad too over-simplified and her real motivations unexplored to allow for a focus on observing Arifandrsquos inner turmoil and frustration for being left in the dark, but in the end it is a breath of fresh air that a female character doesnandrsquot feel the need to take on the apologetic, victimized and goody-two-shoes attitude when it comes to gender dynamics.

AkbaIoIullarI does a stellar job in maintaining a self-confident aloofness and sharpness that never once crosses over to termagant territory. We might never find out who she really is, but it is hard not to admire her determination to protect her personal space, even from Arif.

andldquoMuzeyyenandrdquo erratically jostles between the genres of rom-com and melodrama, and occasionally falls prey to stylistic discrepancy, but nevertheless, there is something quite charming about this film which sticks in the mind, engraving some very genuinely sad and funny cinematic moments. Remarkable cinematography, production design and music scored by Mor ve tesiandrsquos Harun Tekin pleasantly set the stage of the story.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman