Life's Lack of Glamour By Yesim Tabak
in 26th Istanbul International Film Festival
by Yesim Tabak
Angel’s Fall is the second feature film by Semih Kaplanoglu. After a successful TV series during the 90’s, he started in cinema with Away from Home / Herkes Kendi Evinde (2001), which focused on themes like identity and the need to belong to somewhere. His debut feature was mainly built around the steps in the story. This time he has a more minimalist style and lets the film find its route through the characters.
Angel’s Fall’s heroine is a young girl named Zeynep (Tulin Ozen), who works in a hotel as a housekeeper. She lives with her father (Musa Karagoz) and they have a traditional, distant relationship. Zeynep doesn’t have many friends. She is somehow disconnected with her own life and the things surrounding her, waiting desperately for something to happen which could give her a new direction, also relying on religious superstitions. The savior doesn’t come in the shape of a charming prince, but with the assistance of someone closer, she finds a sharply dramatic solution to start a new life. That’s when the angel falls to the earth. Not much hope is promised in the end, but at least she is going to continue a ghostly existence.
There is also another story intersecting with Zeynep’s, though she remains as the film’s main focus. One of Angel’s Fall’s inspirations is, as Kaplanoglu puts it himself, Tsai Ming-liang. He doesn’t share his dark humor and surprising elements, but you could find the similarities in the unforced, natural minimalism of it. There is little dialogue and many long silences, but most of the scenes add to the portrayal of the situation. That’s partly because of the authenticity it catches, in the language the characters use and the world they inhabit in Istanbul.
The camera captures the scenes mostly from a far distance, calmly observing the story. None of the scenes are presented as a climax. As ‘nothing much’ happens on the screen, the film takes a bleak view of life’s lack of glamour.