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Honey
(Bal)
Directed by Semih Kaplanoglu
Turkey, 2010
Cornerhouse, 17 July 2011

Honey

This gentle, beautiful film completes Kaplanoglu’s Yusuf trilogy, as it has been called.  The two previous films were Milk and Egg – so there’s a bit of a food theme going on here.

As with any great film-maker, to say exactly what Honey is about is a difficult matter, a matter of translating a masterly language of images into words that somehow approximate a cinematic experience.  On the surface it is concerned with Yusuf’s relationship with his father, who is a bee keeper.  Yusuf (Bora Altas) is a quiet boy who rarely speaks and has difficulties at school, though whether he has a speech impediment or is (to use the ugly epithet) ‘an elective mute’ is uncertain. 

The Turkish countryside and woods are vividly rendered and the school scenes are touching also.  Yusuf is like a ghost looking in on life, nose pressed against the proverbial window.  In a sense, Honey is about the environment, natural and human, that sustains the boy.

It is one of the strangest, most tender films about childhood you are ever likely to see.

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