An island off the coast of Turkey is about to be evacuated due to a possible earthquake — but its inhabitants have been stricken with a mysterious illness, consigning them to an uncertain fate. Reha Erdem's genre-defying new film transports us to a wonderfully wry, oblique universe.
Reha Erdem's corrosive new film uses abstraction and metaphor to comment on the uncertainties of the contemporary world. He does this with a confident hand — startling us, amusing us from time to time, and finally leaving us with an unsettled sense of the future and what it holds.
An island off the coast of Turkey is about to be evacuated due to a possible earthquake. The horses that roam the island have been stricken with a mysterious illness that leaves them too weak to move, and now this malady seems to have spread to the islanders. Meanwhile, a family's emotional cracks are exposed over the decision whether to stay or leave. Singing Women refuses to adhere to any genre, staking out its own distinctive territory and style, and proving that Turkey is creating some of the most creative cinema of our time.
The film centres on Mesut, an aging patriarch whose strange, rambling house is adorned with a bevy of animal heads, trophies from his hunts. Mesut employs a long-suffering housekeeper, who one day befriends a young homeless woman she finds in the woods and invites her into the household. The bane of Mesut's existence is his sickly, ne'er-do-well son, whom Mesut is convinced is simply faking it because he just lost his job. Things grow even more bizarre with the arrival of his son's flight attendant wife, and the presence of Mesut's best friend, the local doctor.
As this odd assortment of Buñuelian
characters tiptoe in and out of their family
dramas, events of the moment intrude in
the most surprising ways. Singing Women
is a truly original film. Erdem transports us
into a recognizable world, but transforms it
into something all his own, a wonderfully
wry and oblique universe.