‘Three Monkeys’ portrays hidden truths of family life

May 18th, 2008 - 9:14 am ICT by admin  

By Andrew McCathie
Cannes, May 18 (DPA) After agreeing to go to prison to save his boss’ political career, Eyup in Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Three Monkeys” (Uc Maymum) returns home from nine months in jail to find his family torn apart by deception, and drifting towards disaster. “You’ll get into trouble one day,” Eyup’s wife Hacer warns their troubled teenage son, Ismael, as the boredom of his life leads him astray. But with her husband away, Hacer also embarks upon a course that threatens to bring her family apart as she begins an affair with Eyup’s boss, Servet.

Speaking at a press conference, marking the film’s premier in Cannes, Ceylan said he decided on the title of “Three Monkeys” because it was how the characters in the movie dealt with the unravelling of the family’s life.

Instead of facing up the truth and the realities around them, they decided not to see, hear or talk about it.

“In life we play the three monkeys many times,” said Ceylan, whose widely acclaimed “Uzak” (Distant) won the Cannes Grand Jury Prize in 2003. “Three Monkeys” is the third time that the 49-year-old Istanbul-born director has been selected for the race for Cannes’ coveted Palme d’Or.

But set against a political backdrop, including the recent election victory of Turkey’s Justice and Development Party and the behaviour of Servet, who is played by a one-time aspiring politician Ercan Kesal, “Three Monkeys” would also appear to raise broader questions about the morality of politics and public life.

Rather than risk his political career, Servet asks Eyup, played by Yavuz Bingol, to take responsibility for a road accident in which Servet has killed someone.

However, Ceylan insists that drawing parallels with the political world was not really his intention. Rather, he wanted to explore how people would react, as the pressures in their social environments grow.

“The political situation is just in the background,” said Ceylan. “It does not interest me too much,” with “Three Monkeys” also delving into Turkey’s class structure.

But as the tensions emerge, it becomes clear that Eyup’s family is also haunted by another tragedy, the death of a younger son with Ismael, played by Ahmet Rifat Sungar, appearing to bear some personal sense of blame for his brother’s loss.

“I wanted to use the boy as connecting the family members,” said Ceylan. “When they really suffer the boy appears (in their dreams),” with the family largely acting out their emotions within the limited confines of their small suburban apartment.

However, despite the violence and humiliation she suffers during the movie, it is the wife, played by Hatice Aslan, who appears to help guide the family through the crisis.

“I don’t want to see her as been in anyway guilty,” said Ceylan. “She went through the same thing as anyone. She fell in love with a man at the wrong time.”

“All the characters are both victim and executioner,” he said.

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