Monday, November 06, 2006

Movie Review: CIRKIN DUNYA



aka LAST HOUSE IN ISTANBUL
aka UGLY WORLD
Directed by Osman F. Sedan
Turkey; 1974

CIRKIN DUNYA
is a sleaze-trip bum-rap of a film that’ll curdle your milk and wither your delicate sensibilities. It slithers into your visual cortex and fangs your idle brain with awkward violence and weirdo lusts. It’s a mostly by-the-numbers home invasion variant (think DESPERATE HOURS, FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE, DEATH WEEKEND, etc) only this one was made in Turkey. So it has that steaming Mediterranean bluster about it, and of course a very, very, very low budget. Grifting Italian soundtrack music to great effect, this nasty little flick also boasts some rather inventive directing and camera work and some very effective acting hysteria as a cheerful well-to-do family of three comes under the unhinged oppression of three rather nutty criminals on the run. Mind games, beatings, child endangerment and kinky undertones rule the screen until it all comes to an incredibly tragic climax.

Along the way you get the oddly homoerotic interplay between the screw-loose gangsters who pet each other like ponies and enjoy giving each other piggy back rides in women’s clothes after skinny dipping in a pool. Yikes. And yet all the while they glare at the pretty wife-captive with barely contained animal lust, though, perhaps surprisingly the prerequisite rape scene doesn’t go down until the end of the film. It would also seem that, giving the rough going over one thug gives to the young kid (dunking him repeatedly in the aforementioned pool), child labor laws in the Turkish film industry were surely nonexistent. But that just makes it all the more weird and well, fun. I know, I’m a cruel bastard who is probably going to hell, but I bet you’ll enjoy the scene too, ya damned hypocrites.

This movie has got all of the oddness, grime and on-the-cheap shocks that we’ve come to love from Turkish exploitation, but it pounds home a bummer of an ending with a downbeat coda that should send at least a sliver of sadness down the middle of even the most cold and hard-bitten of cult film fans. It’s truly unexpected and is almost effective. Overall it’s a great if rather minor film well worth seeking out. It gets a little talky at times (thank Allah my copy had English subs, even if they were barely readable), but it has enough moments of sheer wacko bewilderment to have you howling in morally ambiguous joy.

Print provided by Electric Larvae.

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