Cemil (Ozan Çelik), a 32-year-old man, works as a safety guard on the InciPark mall, “the pearl of Istanbul”. A milquetoast worker, he’s insulted by his boss, ignored by his colleagues. Cemil is a no one. However one thing shifts in him, when he’s watching outdated Turkish B films: He turns into a any person.
Revering the veteran actor Turgay Göral (Fuat Kökek), Cemil copies his strikes. He imitates dialogues, threatens enemies, shoots them with a gun. Like his world, his gun is make-believe, too, formed from his thumbs, index and center fingers. Life is drab with no dream; Cemil has one, too: He needs to be an actor. Bariş Sarhan’s The Cemil Present, which premiered on the Worldwide Movie Competition Rotterdam, is an interrogation of an inconceivable aspiration, an exploration of a ubiquitous madness.
His life takes a flip when he finds out that Göral’s daughter, Burcu (Nesrin Cavadzade), is his colleague. Cemil has given many auditions, confronted many rejections. Possibly assembly his idol would change his future? He approaches Burcu; she doesn’t pay him consideration. She agrees solely when Cemil implies that he is aware of her secret: that she’s having an affair with their boss, Zafer (Alican Yücesoy). Cemil possibly an unusual performer in entrance of the digital camera – overwrought and over-the-top – however he modifies gears, like actor, in actual life: he will be pushover and pushy, pitiful and crafty.
Cinema is a stressed, thumping pressure in Sarhan’s debut. It cares as a lot about Cemil’s world because the world Cemil cares about: the ’60s Turkish films – the Yeşilçam period – a uncommon affluent interval within the nation’s movie business. The Cemil Present opens to a movie-within-a-movie, and it retains returning to totally different archival footage of Göral’s movies. On a display with a 1:1 facet ratio, a gangster carries a lady out of the automobile, climbs up the steps, and locations her on a terrace. He appears anxious; she appears drugged. Moments later, just a few armed males comply with him. There’s nothing redeeming or uplifting about this climax. It appears predictable and formulaic: a violent man about to satisfy a violent demise. However what does it say about Cemil that in Göral, a villain, he sees a hero?
Because the movie zooms in on Cemil, his obsession finds context. He’s a textbook misfit. He doesn’t have the present of the gab or the finesse of tact. He doesn’t get social cues; he blurts out inappropriate issues. However in contrast to cinema, life doesn’t have retakes. A flubbed line is a flubbed line. A missed probability is simply that: a missed probability. Cemil isn’t just belittled and bullied; he actually lives on the sting of the society. He doesn’t have a house; he lives within the basement of the mall, with different safety guards. If his life have been a film, it will have a merciless sound combine (he’d be proven talking, however his dialogues can be muted) and unforgiving cinematography (he’d be current within the body, however the digital camera angle would render him insignificant). The place ought to such an individual flip to for his normal staple of sight and sound – for the fundamental acknowledgment of his existence? You recognize the reply, so does Cemil.
He’s additionally discovered an ideal position mannequin in Göral who brings out his latent rage and frustration, dousing his flames of emasculation. When Göral factors a gun, saying certainly one of his well-known dialogues, Cemil repeats that line. It seems like a chant and a warning: “For years, I’ve suppressed my actual self.” However in actual life, Cemil is just not the type who shoots, he’s the one who will get shot. As he immerses in Göral’s life – he reads his diaries, he watches his movies, he emulates him – the road between the reel and the true vanish with disturbing ease.
That is the place The Cemil Present glows. It shines a lightweight on the darker facet of cinephilia. Cinema tucks into its fold all types of individuals: the misunderstood, the unheard, the unseen. It turns into a pal for individuals who by no means had any. We watch others in films and find yourself seeing ourselves. It’s additionally a scary dichotomous world: it appears actual but it surely’s fictional, it feels intimate but it surely’s ephemeral. When you’ll be able to’t distinguish between fantasy and actuality, it’s insanity; while you don’t wish to distinguish between them, it’s cinephilia. The road is skinny, the slope slippery; The Cemil Present understands that advantageous distinction.
At its most interesting, the film jogged my memory of my two everlasting favourites: Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976) and Abbas Kiarostami’s Shut-Up (1990). If the previous is about an unhinged loner who can solely specific himself by way of violence, then the latter is a couple of cinephile who ‘turns into’ the filmmaker he admires. Cemil has shades of each Travis Bickle and Hossain Sabzian. The movie is violent and tender, disturbing and comforting. A whole lot of that has to do with how Sarhan interprets Cemil – with nuance and compassion and pragmatism, accommodating his naivety, innocence, viciousness. The movie emerged out of a 14-minute brief that, very similar to this characteristic, is written and directed by Sarhan. However its actual star – its soul and coronary heart and ticking bomb – is Çelik who performs the equal of a kid in a Ferris wheel. One second he’s up within the sky, the following he’s swinging down. Even Cemil doesn’t know what he’ll do subsequent, and the magic of Çelik’s efficiency turns uncertainty into poetry.
The Cemil Present is elevated to a big extent by its stirring, beautiful climax. In a single seamless sweep, Sarhan ties all of the unfastened ends, coalescing its essential elements: themes, story, characters. Cemil’s obsession – his dream efficiency – lastly will get an outlet. Bucru’s conflicted relationship together with her father, who dies early within the film, finds a disturbing closure. We even get the identical archival footage that opened the movie, imbuing this drama with a circularity that defines Cemil: that regardless of the place he goes, he’ll return to the place he started. Besides this time, there’s nowhere to go. Not everybody will get to relish, and monetise, their madness. Life has to start when the movie ends: that’s the final curse of a cinephile.