The Curtain

Actors begin an in-depth conversation about their next play.

Genre: Drama

Length: 8:17

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4 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : Erkut Altindag,

Director/s : Erkut Altindag, 

Writer/s : Ayşe Günsel, 

Actor/s : Ayşe Günsel, Gizem Taşkın


Let the dark in

If you’ve been involved in acting at all, you’ll recognise these four, talking about characters they are about to play, and about the acting process itself. This film starts on a stage, with actors dressed as if for a Chekhov. Or are they actually in the 1900s?

It’s mysterious, deliberately so, and not remotely naturalistic. They speak in a stilted fashion, and the edit gives them long mannered pauses between lines. They hold poses like badly directed actors. One has a bruised face, and the wind-up phonogram sits anachronistically with the modern telephone. Is this all Brechtian alienation, reminding the audience of the artifice? One even says “This is all fiction. Everyone is already playing their role.” Is this a drama about drama, with nods to Shakespeare and Ionescu, or is it something deeper?

They discuss a character, Arda, whom one of them is to play. Arda is a murderer, a “psycho-killer” – an anachronistic phrase that further disorientates us.

Cut to modern Istanbul, shot naturalistically. A woman shows a scan to her overjoyed husband, and announces that their new baby will be a boy. They can now confirm the name they’ve chosen: Arda.

It would be wrong to spoil the outcome by saying how the last third unfolds, but not to say that the film needs watching more then once to fathom the connection back to that enigmatic onstage scene. Re-view it, and lines take on new significance.

It would also be wrong to share the conclusion that I drew, for you might very well draw a different one. Certainly writer Ayşe Günsel does not spoonfeed us her intention, and by leaving us with a mystery, she gives us much more to linger over than most eight-minute films.