Writer and director Leyla Yilmaz in her second film Not Knowing (“Bilmemek”) gives a glance of Turkish society in general, and in particular, the portrait of a family of three, living in pre-pandemic Istambul. Sinan (Yurdaer Okur), the father, works with containers at the port for a big sea transportation corporation that has a new administrative structure in which he is in charge of as general manager with no assistance; Selma (Senan Kara) the loving mother, is a doctor deeply involved with her patients and in conversations with her brother about their inheritance; and Umut (Emir Ozden) the son, a student finishing college and member of the water polo team, an activity that may allow him some privileges in his university years. Umut´s blue eyes match with the water of the swimming pool.
The story develops in a period of time that allows the viewer to learn about their concerns and goals, in the family’s daily activities, the lack of communication is omnipresent.
A precise camera work provides homoerotic images of men in black swimwear, a team coach that shouts, a crowded locker room with a door expressing itself with anger. Communication is difficult between the water polo players too since a group of them (3, 6 or more) feel at risk of having Umut around not knowing exactly his sexual identity. They ask and Umut doesn´t tell.
Digital pictures, emails, Whatsapp chats, warnings, phone calls, conversations, the principle of obedience, Raki and TV news, intertwine in a story that goes in crescendo up to the end.
Rejection, homophobia, aggression, harassment, sense of suffocation, desolation, loss, and regret are terms that translate into images in a haunting movie with solid performances by all the cast.
Leyla Yilmaz received the Jury Award for best Foreign Feature film in 2012 for her first film A Handful of Sea (“Bir Avuc Deniz”), at the Toronto Female Eye Film Festival. Not Knowing (“Bilmemek”) has been well received at Adana Film Festival 2020, Ankara International Film Festival, and Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival.
Review by José Mayorga Guatemala, Central America Lawyer and notary public, visual artist and editor of El Azar Cultural. Lives and works in Guatemala City. Cinema lover, curious about the possibilities life brings and eager to live the experience.