Anna Sołowiej’s Review on “Meeting Point”
Meeting Point (Kimya, 2021), dir. Umut Evirgen
Written and directed by Umut Evirgen, Meeting Point thwarts its promise of adventure with an overreliance on blurry aesthetics (evoking the sensation of an intoxicated night out) and a screenplay that falls flat. Its topical association with the likes of Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise (1995) and Sofia Coppola’s Lost In Translation (2003) could be its strength since we still have an appetite for stories of accidental, life-subverting encounters between strangers and their late-night ventures. Evirgen’s film, however, only ever uses this premise as a springboard to a story that struggles to replicate the charm of its past cinematic counterparts.
A promising juxtaposition of its protagonists is both the throughline, and the film’s greatest missed opportunity.
He (Levent Üzümcü) is in his early 50s, fine dining with his wife (Belçim Bilgin), son, and friends, taking little notice of the ongoing conversation. She (Melisa Şenolsun) is in her early 20s, at a club where her boyfriend (Bora Akkaş) is DJing, yet unable to go with the flow of the party. The man struggles to commit himself to yet another pleasureless dinner, his wife too engaged in determining her astrological chart to notice how tiresome the whole affair feels to him. The girl walks aimlessly around the club, passing other people, incapable of getting in sync with their enjoyment of Saturday night fever – it’s immediately obvious how incompatible they are with their own social environments. Coincidentally, the fancy restaurant and the boisterous club are next to each other, so the protagonists meet on the sidewalk when stepping out for a cigarette. A few nicotine hits and exchanged glances after, they hop on a motorcycle and, wallet-less and phone-less, disappear into the night.
Since the stakes are already low, their escapist masquerading will not leave you trembling with anticipation. Rather, the audience might find themselves on a downward spiral; from now on, the film will jump from one irrelevant location to another without lending itself to the protagonists’ life-changing journey. The duo’s dialogue is too overzealous to render itself poetic and will not offer a much needed distraction from yet another checkpoint visit on their roadmap. Additionally, awe-inspiring Istanbul is cinematically reduced to a mere backdrop in a story in which it could have been a character in its own right.
Evirgen’s dissection of the complexities of adulthood, responsibilities and social roles is unsatisfying for a viewer who savours a challenge. The straightforwardness of the dialogue, too, is incapable of scrutinising the respective worlds of the two protagonists. Their worldviews, life philosophies, and their social status will all remain pretty much untackled by the time the slick closing shot arrives. The performances of Üzümcü and Şenolsun are graceful and there is something to be said in favour of Veli Kuzlu’s cinematography with its free-flowing, impressionistic approach to capturing nightlife, but the feeling Evirgen’s Meeting Point leaves you with is a disappointment at its underdeveloped premise and unrealised promise.
Edited by Amber Wilkinson
© FIPRESCI 2021
The FIPRESCI Warsaw Critics Project 2021
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