Saturday, April 24, 2010

In short: Daglarin Oglu (1972?)

A hairy, cackling, knife-throwing rogue named Cuchillo (Yilmaz Köksal?) is riding through the mountains of "Mexico" on a rickety wooden non-coach. Cuchillo is mad at a certain Don Pedro, whom he makes responsible for having spent the last six months in jail. Something to do with stolen mules, it seems. Of course, this treachery cannot stand, and Cuchillo returns to Pedro-Land to take vengeance. But Cuchillo is easily distracted and so finds time to meet up with his main girlfriend (Nalan Cöl?) and get his horse stolen by another hairy guy, Chico. The latter does of course call for vengeance, unless when it doesn't, and both men decide that they have a larger dislike for Pedro than for each other. Chico has somehow acquired a cache of gold Don Pedro would very much like for himself, so Pedro's men are after him.

Of course, this being something of a Spaghetti Western, there will be betrayal and torture, and at a later point in the movie, there will also be talk of the necessity of revolution. That, and a Catholic bishop whom Cuchillo's girlfriend calls "Daddy".

Of course Turkish cult movie directing machine Cetin Inanc did make his own Spaghetti Western, and of course it is the attention deficit disorderly mad brother to the films of so ponderous a director as Sergio Corbucci.

I had the pleasure to see the film with subtitles whose quality is very close to the film's directing style - rough, confused and confusing. The mangled English fits the cackling, shouting and swaggering that stands in for acting perfectly. Honestly, I'm not too sure I'd want to see this film with subtitles that try to make more sense. True, the film randomly inserts moments of melodrama into scenes of Cuchillo jumping around like a flea, of mine fields randomly placed somewhere in the country and of hot knife-throwing action filmed through someone's legs, yet I'm somehow quite sure these moments wouldn't be any more convincing (in a naturalistic sense) if I understood what is actually being said in them.

Turkish pop cinema of this era just doesn't roll that way. It's all about the thrills that can be produced without much technology, and the ability of the audience to see just how friggin' cool movies are, without the need to try to be "believable", or sane.

Daglarin Oglu is all grown men having fun pretending they are cowboys (and pretending that Turkey looks like Mexico), reproducing random elements (and stealing the soundtracks) of a sub-genre that had an element of playing cowboys and Indians (or Mexican revolutionaries) even in its original form in Italy. It might look like a pretty naive way to go about filmmaking - it probably is naive - but films like this exude a sense of excitement that I'm not going to argue with. Daglarin Oglu is not the product of people just making a movie, it's the product of PEOPLE MAKING A MOVIE!!!(!!!), and that is a pretty exciting thing to watch.