C., my unexpected houseguest, and I went to see the Turkish film "Issız Adam" last night. C. had high expectations, but mine were rather low to nonexistent as I'd heard everything from "So good I saw it twice, it's my movie" to "Hated it. Typical Turkish love of the tragic."
At the beginning of the film, we find the main character, Alper, heading out to see a prostitute, and what's worse, an older and not-so-good-looking prostitute. Soon after Alper meets the fresh-faced, wholesome Ada at a bookstore and basically ends up stalking her, which she a little too good-naturedly allows. A relationship quickly develops between them, which could be best described by love/hate between them and self-hate, particularly on Alper's part.
Alper, though we are meant to sympathize with his character, was simply unlikeable. One moment he decides he's deeply in love with Ada and wants her to meet his mother, the next he's heading off to meet another old prostitute and being a complete ass to Ada. In one scene, at the restaurant he owns, he yells at his mother, visiting from the southern province of Mersin, ostensibly for spilling her drink, then proceeds to be rude and angry to both Ada and his mother for the rest of the night. While here I think the director was wanting the audience to think, "Oh, poor Alper, his repressed emotions are bubbling up and he's taking it out on the people close to him cause he just can't control himself," instead I was further convinced that Alper was just a complete asshole, a spoiled bachelor who hadn't at all figured out what he really wanted in life.
As expected, Alper eventually dumps Ada, in his kitchen, where he had first endeared himself to her by showing off his top chef skills; she is brokenhearted but moves on. He returns to his decadent bachelor life, complete with a new array of even older prostitutes -- yes, the recurring theme of a serious oedipus complex. In the final scene Alper runs into Ada, who has since married and had a child. They catch up on each other's lives, which means basically that Alper is back where he started at the beginning of the film and Ada is happy without him. They go their separate ways after shaking hands, only to, in a classic dramatic Turkish moment, run back toward each other for a last, torrid embrace. And finally, some parting shots of the sad, pathetic Alper in his dark room on his own, the lonely man.
Final verdict: Save your 12 TL for some decent coffee or several lahmacuns. If you want some Turkish drama with abundant doses of angst and tragedy tune into "Yaprak Dökümü" (Falling Leaves) for free.