Boston Turkish Film Festival: Burning Days and Sinkholes

The Boston Turkish Film Festival ran from Friday, 3/24 through Sunday, 3/26 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and will continue through 4/29 virtually. Click here for the schedule and ticket info, and watch the site for Joshua Polanski’s continuing coverage!

Following Tayfun Pirselimoğlu’s Kerr from earlier in the Boston Turkish Film Festival, director Emin Alper’s cinephile darling Burning Days proves to be a straighter version of an unexpectedly similar premise. Both films follow male outsiders to small towns in rural Türkiye who become somehow involved in a violent crime. And get this, the similarities don’t end there: in both films, there are secondary (Burning Days) or tertiary (Kerr) plotlines involving the appearances of holes in the ground. In the latter, the holes are mysterious, small, and random, whereas the former’s plot is more or less initiated by the appearance of sinkholes that may or may not be caused by the over-extraction of groundwater. 

Despite sharing so much on a plot level, the two films couldn’t be more different. Burning Days shoots with a more invisible style to not distract precisely and plays it straight precisely whereas Kerr has an experienced photographic style and knows how to have fun.

Emre (Selahattin Paşalı), a young and ambitious prosecutor from the city, finds himself in the middle of a political scandal concerning rural Yaniklar’s source of water. The mayor and his son Şahin (Erol Babaoğlu), who claim the support of the scientific findings suggesting the extraction of groundwater is not the source of the sinkholes, invite party pooper Emre over for an evening of food and drink not long before the upcoming elections. That night: a young and mentally disabled Roma girl (often pejoratively called the Gypsies), Pekmez (Eylül Ersöz), is raped and the do-good Emre, drugged, can piece together just enough of the night to scare the shit out of him. 

Continue reading on the Boston Hassle.

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