Frenzy ★★★★½



These are one of the numerous graffities carved onto the walls of a suburban district of Istanbul. They really are, not made for any art directorship purposes. Even though we do not know where exactly film was shot, there are possible guesses. For example, Gazi district in Istanbul, one of the most "dangerous" places in Istanbul. So if you are a foreigner, I do not recommend you to go there. Yet recommendation does not mean that they do not exist. They exist, the lives and places, the blockade exist.

P.S.: The exact translation of the film's title, "abluka" means "blockade", not "frenzy". But it is interesting why the name frenzy is chosen, which I will explain further.

Frenzy is about a man named Kadir (Mehmet Özgür) who goes on parole with a job that was given to him. If he performs well, he will be released. The job consists of gathering information from a terrorist organization (which we don't know which one). Disguised as a paper collector, Kadir's main purpose is to find people that are connected to the organization. After a time, he suspects his brother Ahmet (Berkay Ateş), and his friends. What we see after that is constant paranoia from different perspectives, and of course the violence of the ruler.

It is not an easy task to write about fascism. Especially, fascism in Turkish cinema because Turkish cinema is predominantly fascist. Apart from some films of the late, Turkish directors choose not to show fascism but to make a fascist film. Since it is not the point of this review, I will not talk further in this subject.

Instinctual paranoia and the violence of the ruler are the main subjects of director Emin Alper’s filmography. His debut film “Tepenin Ardı” (Above the Hill) shows how an unseen/unknown thing can destroy the bonds of the people you love. Same thing applies here, isolation drives people crazy because one always wants to know what others are doing. Speaking of isolation, it is clear that the chosen location reflects what the film is about to tell: Isolation inside isolation. In a district which no entrance and exit is allowed, people just live, nothing else. Just live. You can think how a situation goes crazier than this. Well, it goes.

When looking at fascism general in world cinema, Hungarian cinema of late can be a very good example. Not because his nibs Bela Tarr, but because his successor Kornél Mundruczó. Both directors know exactly what happened to Hungary during communism, and what is happening to the country after third republic: Fascism! Turkish director Emin Alper is also well aware of what is happening to them, as well as what is happening to his country. So his inspirations of Hungarian cinema is well chosen. Just to give examples of such inspirations, I can say changing points of view in Frenzy like Bela Tarr’s Satantango, and the dog scene (or the whole idea of dogs) like Kornél Mundruczó’s White God. However, it is not a spoiler review, so I will not go into detail.

One may go into isolation if he desires. One may decides not to talk to his relatives if he desires. One may do anything against the rules if he desires. The idea of desire is the direct reflection of human will. Hence, his or her freedom. But can we talk about human will when he or she is inherently isolated. How one reacts when locked into some place or somewhere that one does not understand the idea of freedom (or what the world behind the borders) is like? What does violence mean when one does not comprehend others? What does “others” mean when you are not exactly part of a group, or even “one” at all? It’s just frenzy.

Fearlessly adding some ideas into practice that Turkish directors often overlook, Frenzy is one of the best Turkish films of the year.

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