A Touch of Spice

Thursday, October 26, 2006

This week sees the 8th annual Turkish Film Festival in New York City. One of the features,'A Touch of Spice,' is a Greek/Turkish film about a family who is deported from Turkey when struggles were at their peak.

It profiles the sadness and attachment to Turkey as well as the state of alienation faced by Turkish Greeks. It's quite surprising and another reminder that nothing in war is black and white.

A few things that still linger in my mind about this movie follow:

  • The director uses these almost Monty Pythonesque objects floating in space to kind of liberate the mind intermittently throughout the movie. I've seen this technique in other artsy foreign films and appreciate it in moderation, as was the case here.
  • The father in the story has these huge, drippy, brown eyes. He is forced to decide about the deportation of his family. In those moments he is boiled down to his essence and draws the audience in with the huge orbs, unobstructed by blinking.
  • The childhood crush and separation that always touches me ... that helplessness in the midst of earnest, innocent love. No matter how old we are, we sense such a possibility in ourselves and cling to our imagination of it. This is also symbolic in the film, mirroring the helplessness of an entire group of people who are deeply in love with Turkey--the culture, the foods, their neighborhoods in Istanbul.
  • The parallel between food and outer space, which is somewhat loosely drawn but nevertheless inviting as a subject for contemplation.

This movie is lovely to look at and effective in its long pauses on expression, small humorous moments and sweeping undertones of tragedy as a war pushes those most in love apart.

In the end, it's not an over-dramatic hype festival, and that's what I love about foreign film. That life takes place is dramatic enough.