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August 08, 2009

Bliss

Bliss poster Unlike Nuri Bilge Ceylan ("Three Monkeys"), who evokes an existential element in his fascinating approach to cinema, fellow Turkish filmmaker Abdullah Oguz takes a hackneyed approach to his subject in a film based on Zulfu Livaneli's 2002 novel. In a remote Anatolian village, a young woman named Meryem (Ozgu Namal) has brought dishonor upon her family by being raped. Meryem's own mother supplies her with a rope with which to kill herself. However, in her darkest hour, Meryem rebels against committing suicide as local custom dictates, and is sent off by her uncle Ali Riza (Mustafa Avkiran) to be killed by his son Cemal (Murat Han), who has recently returned from the army. Unable to carry out his murderous assignment, Cemal takes Meryem to work in a small fishery before meeting up with Irfan (Talat Bulut), a kind-hearted, white haired, retired professor in need of help with his humble but well appointed yacht. Irfan's worldly knowledge clashes with Cemal's ignorant provincial views that harbor contempt for modern Turkish society. Violence brews as the story vainly attempts to reconcile an untenable relationship between Meryem and her misogynistic cousin. Unrelated to its misleading title, "Bliss" is anything but.
Not Rated. 105 mins. (C-) (Two Stars)

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