Friday, January 11, 2008

DVD Review: CASUS KIRAN




Directed by Yilmaz Atadeniz
Starring Irfan Atasoy and Sevda Ferdag
Turkey; 1968




Woo Hoo! Now this is more like it! While we were a little lukewarm on the last two Onar releases the new one, CASUS KIRAN is real doozy! It’s a rapid-fire super-hero flick with incoherence to burn and style up to its neck. Yilmaz Atadeniz is the mastermind here, who you may (or rather should) know as the genius behind the KILINK films as well as the all time retarded cinema classic DEATHLESS DEVIL, so you know you’re in for a wild time. It’s all action, all movement and no plot, no meaning, an almost existential pop confection that had me hugging myself with barely-contained joy throughout its all-too brief running time. Apparently the movie is based on a WWII era comic book called SPY SMASHER about a masked hero who, well, smashes spies. Atadeniz takes this template and crafts something really immediate and striking. CASUS KIRAN is slapdash nonsense to be sure, but it is altogether glorious nonetheless.



A plot synopsis is not really necessary, nor even really possible. The print provided seems like it might be missing a few scenes and the English subtitles don’t make much sense for most of the time. It doesn’t matter, trust me. Casus Kiran and his hot-chick side-kick Sevda (also the name of the actress playing the role) fight a devious cabal of spies intent on destroying the western world (or something like that) but they hadn’t counted on the tenacity of the Turks! There is a ton of fighting, all of it fake looking, contrived and absolutely thrilling. I honestly could not follow the finer details of the plot, for the reasons enumerated above, but the film’s constant blur of fisticuffs, motorcycles and recycled garage riffs simply pour on the fleeting entertainment. It’s as fine an hour+ of trash movie joy as your likely to find in this fresh new year and so I can do nothing better that recommend you pick up CASUS KIRAN at you soonest opportunity.



I’ll be frank here, in regards to the picture quality: It ain’t hot. BUT. This is the first time it has ever been released on video anywhere in the world. Since its Anatolian theatrical release in the late 60s CASUS has been languishing “in the vaults” just waiting for Onar’s timely discovery. Under those circumstances, this is an utterly beautiful print and we should all praise the efforts of Mr. Barounis for bring it to us. This amazing DVD, one of the best of 2007 for sure, also contains a video interview (conducted by the late, lamented Turkish film historian Metin Demirhan) with director/producer Atadeniz who provides, as usual with the interviews on Onar’s DVDs, many insights into the history of Turkish cinema, covering not only his better know superhero and action films but some of his early more dramatic films as well. Essential viewing for all fans of obscure international pop cinema, to be sure. There is also a nice image gallery of rare press materials for the film which are quite beautiful. Ayman Kole’s usual terrific bios and a smattering of Onar trailers fill up the rest of the disc. The trailer for the next release DEMIR PENCE KORSAN ADAM, is especially tantalizing and makes the disc highly anticipated at least by me, being an early film by my fave Turk Director Cetin Inanc. Gods, I cannot wait for that DVD, due at the end of this very month.



Without a doubt this is a DVD that every trash/exploitation/60s-superhero-film fan needs to have in their collection. If you’ve ever thought about buying an Onar DVD but weren’t sure where to start, this is an excellent place. These more obscure Turkish masked-men features like the upcoming DEMIR PENCE or the previous DEMIR YUMRUK are some of the 21st century’s most amazing and essential cinematic discoveries going. There are no more exciting and entertaining films available on digital disc right now. You owe it to yourself to add this to your collection for, in this humble reviewer’s opinion, your life is a much bleaker and soul-less place without them.



Available from Onar Films!

10 comments:

Cinefamily said...

Howdy,

Do you have the email for Onar Films. His website is down, and I'd really like to talk with him about finding some Turkish films to show at my theatre in Los Angeles (www.cinefamily.org)

Best,

Hadrian

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wow what kind of superhero is that?? he looks like Batman don't you think?? and I would love to watch this movie, it would be so much fun!!

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