That term first came to my mind when, as a child, I’d try to say “stream of consciousness” and end up with “brainflow.” It seems to fit here.

Welcome to the ramblings of my mind. (For now, these ones revolve mostly around films.)

Bliss (Mutluluk) & Adam

Saturday, March 13th, 2010 6:52 pm—Film

Bliss (Turkey/Greece 2007, Drama), Writer: Elif Ayan; Director: Abdullah Oguz

Adam (USA 2009, Drama/Romance), Writer/Director: Max Mayer

As soon as I saw the title, I had to rent Bliss. It shares the same ironic name as the short screenplay I’ve been trying to get funded for the past year or more. Fortunately, the Turkish feature film turned out to be great, and not just another flop I picked up on a misguided impulse.

Bliss is based on the 2002 novel by Zülfü Livaneli. When young Meryem (Özgü Namal) is found unconscious by the shore, the people in her Anatolian village assume she was raped. According to custom, the only way to atone for her “shame” is to put her to death. Cemal (Murat Han), the son of the village leader, is tasked with taking her to Istanbul and killing her. But he can’t bring himself to finish the job, and the pair embarks on a journey that highlights the stark contrast between their beliefs and those of modern-day Turks.

This movie is gorgeous. Its camerawork is inventive and thoughtful, exquisitely matched with each scene and moment. The acting is exceptional on all counts, although Namal deserves special recognition for her powerful portrayal of Meryem. And the scenery—punctuated by an evocative score—is spectacular. Not only is Bliss an enlightening study of the culture clashes and medleys that exist in Turkey, it goes a long way to showcasing the country’s stunning natural beauty.

And then there’s Adam. I don’t have much to say about the film because, on the whole, I don’t recommend it. It’s about a young man named Adam (Hugh Dancy) whose struggle to make a relationship work with Beth (Rose Byrne) is compounded by the fact that he has Asperger’s Syndrome. When I heard about Adam, I was interested by the subject matter. But the trailers had too much of a movie-of-the-week flavour to get me into the theatres. I ended up renting Adam, and found that the previews were fair.

I’m only bothering to write about the movie because there were some interesting parallels between Adam’s difficulties in engaging in substantial relationships, and those demonstrated by so-called NTs—neurotypicals. How big a difference is there really between a person who hides behind a door, afraid to open it when his date arrives, and a person who opens the door but never really lets anyone in? Aside from the appearance of one being normal, they’re both quite similar—not sure how, and not ready, to open up and trust.

Beyond that, though, the film didn’t inspire much reflection. It doesn’t offer a lot by way storyline; instead, it sort of plays out like Introduction to Asperger’s 101. Dancy is clearly a fine actor who brings a nicely understated delivery to his performance. But his talents, and the portrait of a person with Asperger’s, would be better served in a film that offers the kind of artful, lyrical treatment found in Bliss.

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