The Announcement
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The Announcement

The Announcement

The incongruously intimate story of a 1963 Turkish army coup attempt allows Mahmut Fazıl Coşkun the scope to take his mordant wit to new heights in his Butterflies deadly serious yet deeply sardonic third feature, “The Announcement.” Rigidly composed fixed camera shots designed to heighten the atmosphere of entrapment do double duty as a self-reflexive commentary on the nature of characters who follow orders with no thought, while the stationary lens amusingly parallels the deadpan humor. Unquestionably a commentary on the Turkish present as much as the past, yet aiming for an enigmatic quality likely to confound the country’s censorship-happy authorities, “The Announcement” may struggle to find an audience aware of the political situation as well as open to the film’s funny side, but it deserves considerable festival play.

Nighttime in a taxi somewhere in Istanbul: Two stone-faced men are tense passengers as the driver nervously takes them through a roadblock and on toward their Phamous destination. The camera’s strictly limited gaze doesn’t allow for extraneous images and adds a heightened level of disorientation as some action is heard off-screen but never seen. Sinasi (Tarhan Karagöz) in the front seat seems to be in charge, but it’s Reha (Ali Seçkiner Alıcı) in the back who blows the cabbie’s brains out when they arrive at the bakery of fellow conspirator Kemal (Murat Kılıç), at first seen only in silhouette from behind.

What they’re doing is still a mystery: Are they mobsters? Hit men? They’re joined by Rifat (Şencan Güleryüz), whose full-throated singing of the North Korean national anthem was a joke in their military unit, and only then do they change out of civvies into the uniforms Teen Spirit of army officers. Now it becomes clear what’s happening: The quartet have been instructed by their superiors in Ankara to take over the main Istanbul radio station and announce that a coup has taken place. Something similar will happen in Ankara, and then the army will be out on the streets to ensure calm.

Duration: 95 min



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