© Kairos

Pandoras Box (Pandora's Box, Pandora'nin Kutusu)
Turkey/France/Germany/Belgium 2008

Opening 26 Nov 2009

Directed by: Yesim Ustaoglu
Writing credits: Selma Kaygusuz, Yesim Ustaoglu
Principal actors: Onur Ünsal, Derya Alabora, Tsilla Chelton, Övül Avkiran, Osman Sonant

Mother (Tsilla Chelton) has disappeared. Her three grown children, two sisters and one brother, are alarmed. Hurriedly they leave Istanbul, travelling by car to the mountain village. Tension builds up among them as they have to deal with this uncertain family situation. After Mother is found deep in the woods, the doctor confirms the diagnosis of Alzheimers. She will not be able to cope on her own but needs help. The family takes the bewildered old woman back to the big and noisy city where nobody has time to look after her. Güsin (Övül Avkiran) leads a busy professional life as a journalist but feels neglected by her macho lover. Nesrin (Derya Alabora) has little interest in her husband and only worries about her son Murat (Onur Unsal). Their brother Mehmet (Osamn Sonant) is a hopeless dropout, lazing his days away. Being faced with the responsibility for the welfare of their mother highlights the isolation of each family member. Young Murat, estranged from his over-protective mother and his non-committal father, is the only one building up an understanding relationship with his grandmother. He respects her wish for freedom and dignity.

The Turkish director Yesim Ustaoglu tells the story of a middle-class family in Istanbul, but it is also a universal situation that all of us could identify with. It shows the inability to stay in touch with the young generation and at the same time to accept the needs of the old in a demanding modern world where materialism has taken a strong hold. It is a touching film told with humour and without any sentimentality, thanks to the well-chosen cast. For her excellent portrayal of the grandmother, the 90-year-old Tsilla Chelton received the prestigious “Best Actress” award at the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain. (Birgit Schrumpf)

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