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MEF – Martıların Efendisi (Lord of the Gulls)

Mehmet Ada Öztekin’s first long-métrage movie (literally long, lasting about 120 minutes) “Lord of the Gulls” is playing in theatres as of 22nd of December. Centralizing the naïve,  schizophrenic character (Lord of the Gulls [MEF]) and setting the story around this core, the script (Meriç Demiray) is consisted of crowded and scattered pieces which are not difficult to follow, however causes a superficial narrative.

The story starts in June 16th, 2013. We see MEF (Mehmet Günsür) by the seaside (Tuzla, Istanbul) talking to the gulls, pretending to be accompanying them with his long-sleeved open cardigan. He yells at his caretaker, Suphi (Barış Yıldız), via imitating the voices of gulls. He says that they should be prepared that night. MEF is so excited, because he is expecting a dreamy assisstant to show up from the sea to help him in achieving his secret mission in the hidden land.

Indeed, a semiconscious young woman (Bige Önal) who attempted an unsuccessful suicide is washed ashore coincidentally that night. MEF goes almost to an euphoric state. He names her as Ms Dream, and starts to train her for this delusional mission.

In reality, Ms Dream’s name is Birgül. She is a run away bride who has thrown herself into the sea at her wedding night due to an unwanted marriage with Cafer (Nejat İşler).

I will let you follow the rest of this intersection on the screen, mainly via the MEF’s axis.

The cast almost always becomes more than important when a disability is the fact. Mehmet Günsür is indisputably the most beautiful face and look in the silver screen. His rounded-brown eyes are sufficient to grab you into a hearty character even if he does not make a single move or say a single word. However, given the complexity of this particular cast, my impression is that he should have done more observations with real patients or had a closer attention over credible past imitations such as Jack Nicholson. Some recommendations could have been less eye blinking during the ocular movements, or looking with pinched but exophtalmic eyes unfortunately which might not be easy to manage with such close ups…

Having acknowledged the shots, frankly speaking, I might have not seen such a close shooting since Joan of Arc in 1928. For instance, I had difficulty in understanding like-15 times changing camera movements during a phone conversation of Birgül with his boyfriend. If shots and light were aligned accordingly, the acts would definitely appear more convincing and powerful. More on the cinematography, I wish that filters or light would be reflected in a more standardized way so that we could automatically get into the themes. One more thing completely from my point again, I found this time lapse effect totally unnecessary. I may find it useful to an extent in the advertising industry but not in the movies.

To close the cast; Nejat İşler shines in all scenes, starting from dropping his cigarette from his mouth at first until the very final appearance.

I can interpret the plot, as have also been mentioned above, superficial and full of a little bit of everything. Though not remembering in details, I think that there may be some referrals to Kosmos (2009, R.E.) as well. MEF is quite a long movie for its duration however still one-dimensional. I felt overall like that the script had to walk in hurriedly before a final adjustment. I was curious about the  characters that were not expanded, and wonder why one or one-and-a-half conflicting point was not selected or scraped out deeper. Several matters to close the loop, for example, are what happened to the other members of the MEF’s family that he hallucinated during one of his psychotic attacks, or why MEF was shown like coming from an upper family standard after which we did not see any hints of it, but almost the opposite.. Putting everything in one plate is always susceptible to leaving open gates for the audience behind..

Last thing regarding the score (Toygar Işıklı): it was remarkable and in line with every bit of the created atmosphere.

This drama would have been a milestone if the plot and other technical aspects were overseen in a more technically accepted way. Agree it or not, cinema is an art of a very technical kind; and has its own mathematics…

One tag line that I could capture in between is: MEF suggests that everyone is a run away at some point of his/her own life. If you have time and do not raise your “like” bar to the stratosphere, you can have a little break for 120 minutes of your life and see MEF…