Somersault in a Coffin

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Somersault in a Coffin
Tabutta Rövaşata | Derviş Zaim, 1996
Turkey | Turkish with English subtitles | Format: 35mm | 76 minutes

Writer/director Derviş Zaim focuses his camera on a rarely seen side of Turkish life with the alternately darkly comic and unsettling Somersault in a Coffin. Mahsun, unemployed and homeless, steals cars to keep warm in winter and sponges off his friends for food. A sympathetic fisherman tries to help by paying Mahsun's tab at a local café, and arranging a job for him there. But Mahsun's attention soon drifts to Rumelihisar Castle, a tourist attraction of this very old neighborhood, and the fifty peacocks that occupy the grounds. These beautiful birds symbolize prosperity, fertility, and protection from evil, but to Mahsun they symbolize all that and much more. Shot in a deft, cinema-verité style, Somersault is a compassionate portrait of a man who just can't get it right, and a gritty look at those left behind when an economy booms.

Venue: Walter Reade Theater

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