What might be the meaning of the rush of the images in the Turkish film “Kosmos”? My friend and I managed to talk quite a lot about the 122-minute movie, showing at the ICA cinema until June 28th, and we came to no conclusions.
On a superficial level, it’s about a mysterious stranger who comes to a small snow-filled town in northern Turkey and saves a child from drowning. As this is near the start of the film, that’s not a spoiler.
Director and writer Reha Erdem is a genius at creating a strange and gorgeous landscape. He also makes you ask a lot of questions. Is the hero/villain a Sufi mystic within a Muslim tradition? Is this a parable about Jesus?
Miracles are performed. A military and police presence menaces, because of local political moves to open up the national border. A great deal of tea is drunk by men. Women are essential to the story, but they don’t sit around drinking tea and talking politics.
Okay, it’s weird. If you love the offbeat east/west fusion that comes alive in Turkish movies, or if you adore Lars Von Trier’s stranger stuff or Terrence Malick’s excessive moments, you’ll enjoy this. It is all exceptionally beautifully lit and filmed and you feel you are within the action, rather than watching.
Lead actor Sermet Yesil is very compelling to watch as is Turku Turan. But the whole cast is terrific, especially the children.
Our leads make some of the strangest noises and gestures possible although these did bring to mind Sufism and mystical traditions within Islam. Animals are essential to the plot and birds, geese and slaughter play key roles.
Do see it if you can. On a sunny afternoon in London, I was extremely cold in the ICA cinema, but it’s tough to regulate these things and very few people attended the screening I went to. Bring a cardigan.
You will rarely see anything as original and haunting.