Cast: Hatice Aslan, Yavuz Bingol
Direction: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
This terrific Turkish feature has made it to our multiplexes within a few months of the Cannes festival where it fetched Nuri Bilge Ceylan the Best Director prize.
Ceylan creates a multilayered character study that keeps us absorbed throughout. As spare and psychologically acute as his previous films (Distant, Climates), the intriguingly titled Three Monkeys traces the oppressive lives of a working class family in a small coastal town.
A chauffeur (Bingol, a popular singer in his homeland), employed by a wannabe politician, takes the rap for a crime committed by his boss. Next: the politico drifts into a liaison with the man’s wife (Aslan, absolutely striking). When the chauffeur returns after serving his sentence, it’s the cue for a climax of staggering depth and intensity.
Filming with high definition video cameras, Ceylan depends on lingering close-ups to convey the protagonists’ anxieties. In fact, the entire ensemble is fearless in its emotional exposure. Their accomplished performances linger on in the mind long after the final fade-out. Compulsory viewing for those who long for unusual cinema.