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VENICE 2008 Competition

Venice’s got Milk

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Venice’s got Milk

Turkish director Semih Kaplanoglu’s Milk [+see also:
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film profile
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, the second part in a proposed trilogy, is the Turkish feature in competition at the Venice Film Festival this year. The co-production between Turkey, France and Germany explores the changing relationship between a mother and son who live in rural Anatolia, a region on the Aegean coast that is also undergoing changes.

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Milk again centres on the sensitive Yusuf, though he is younger here than in the trilogy’s closing part Egg [+see also:
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film profile
]
, which came out first but whose events happen later in the chronology of Yusuf’s life. (The first instalment Honey will come out last.)

An aspiring poet, Yusuf helps out his widowed mother as a milkman and cheese seller at the market. Having recently graduated, he tries to understand how to live the life of a grown man, though the household’s milk literally and symbolically binds him to his mother. Using a large canvas and long takes, Kaplanoglu forces the viewer to tease out the hidden larger meanings behind this intimate tale of a mother and child.

Yusuf is here played by newcomer Melih Selcuk, while veteran actress Basak Köklükaya – best known in the West for her roles in Ferzan Ozpetek’s first two films – plays his mother Zehra. Köklükaya’s face, mysteriously resembling a sfumato Madonna painting from the Italian renaissance, suggests not only a particular mother, but also motherhood on a symbolical level, while the pensive gaze of the handsome Selcuk hints at his silent-waters-run-deep personality.

The film was produced by the director’s company Kaplan, with French company Arizona Films and German outfit Heimatfilm co-producing. The Match Factory handles international sales.

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