Hesitation Wound (2023) Venice Film Festival | Horizons 2023

September 4th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Selman Nacar | Tulin Ozen, Ogulcan Arman Uslu, Gülçin Kultur Sahin, Vedat Erincin,Erdem Senocak | Turkey, Drama 84′

There’s nothing like a courtroom drama to keep you on the edge of your seat and there have been some really gripping legal-themed dramas of late: St Omer, Red Rooms, and Anatomy of a Fall  this. This one, from Turkish director Salman Nacar, is more moody than tense in depicting the everyday life of a young female defence barrister in Istanbul.

The director Selman Nacar won multiple awards for his feature debut Between Two Dawns, and his latest runs along similar lines: a morality tale that centres on a professional woman forced to make an impossible choice: Canan (Tulin Ozen) finds herself in a no-win situation, personally and professionally, caught between looking after her dying mother and forging ahead with her career. No wonder she’s a chain-smoker with ulcer trouble.

In the snowbound capital the camera pans in on the dour hospital confines where Canan is at odds with her sister Hopi on whether to offer her mother’s organs up for donation. Both women are pushed to the limit from all sides. Their mother, although still alive, is lying in a vegetative state on a ventilator. And it only needs one person to sign the consent form, but Canan’s sister, herself a mother, can’t put pen to paper.

Back in her offices, Canan watches out of the window as her client Musa arrives in a police van, ready to stand trial for killing his boss. She berates him for not shaving off his heavy beard, but also puts his jittery mind at rest. Musa is in the dock charged with voluntary premeditated murder. It’s a thorny case built around his threats to kill the owner of the garment factory. But Canan mounts a spirited defence, with a few tricks up her sleeve. And the murder was never witnessed.  

Cemal – a vital witness in the trial – must be there to provide an alibi for Musa’s defence. But he’s disappeared. And when Canan tracks him down he refuses to comply for complex reasons. 

So two peoples lives hang in the balance. And Canan stands between them. Then other evidence starts to emerge. Apparently the victim was having an affair with Muse’s mother and started to make threats. 

Although the ending feels rather underwhelming after such a strong build up this snapshot of modern Turkey makes for compulsive and intelligent viewing with its plausible characters, convincing performances and memorable widescreen camerawork. MT


Copyright © 2024 Filmuforia