Few films have the gift of discussing tragic issues without becoming melodramatic, and Lal gece (Night of Silence) is definitely one of them. After receiving the Crystal Bear at this year’s Berlinale, Reis Çelik’s rural chamber piece was screened in the National Competition of the Istanbul Film Festival.
The film indulges in the colourful traditions of a village wedding before following a bride, face covered in a red veil, into the bridal chamber, as her mother warns her that she is here to stay until her death. So far, Night of Silence shines its magic through lavish chromatics and striking POVs of the passive woman, thanks to the cinematography by Gökhan Tiryaki. As we wait along with the bride for the groom to arrive, there’s a creepy sense of perversity that the director casts upon us : we know that he is a troubled man in his 50s just returned home from behind bars, but how much of this does she know ? And who is she, how old ?
What follows is a psychological game of hide and seek : the 14-year-old bride shifts between fear and ”the duty to serve her man” and he is trapped between impatience and trying to be nice, both knowing that the relatives will be there in the morning to see the stained bed sheet. Tension boils as the night passes and not much happens, all confirming that Reis Çelik is a wise storyteller who knows when and how to give information in order to hook our interest before the surprising ending.
by Andreea Dobre