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Web Letter

I join Stuart Klawans in praising Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Tree Monkeys. It is a masterfully crafted slow-motion dissection of opaque, simmering emotions, with more unseen drama than seen. But that doesn't mean the audience doesn't experience it.

Three Monkeys was the premiere presentation in this year's Boston Turkish Film Festival. The screening, to a packed house of 300-400, mostly Turkish, viewers, was followed by a half hour of Q&A with Ercan Kesal, who played the corrupt yet upstanding politician Servet, and who also co-wrote the screenplay. Kesal is a medical doctor and leader in community medicine in Turkey. He was roped into acting in and helping to write the film by his old friend Ceylan, who is also a physician. Absolutely amazing.

Klawans doesn't discuss the film's choice of title, but by the end we see a family undone by their refusal to hear, see or speak evil. They have plenty of time to talk about what has happened, is happening or might happen to them, but never are able to. They are undone and without redemption, by virtue of their mutual isolation, physical and emotional. Eyüp goes to prison, but the whole family is incarcerated in solitary confinement.

Geoffrey Dutton

Belmont, MA

May 2 2009 - 8:37pm