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'y-yi Biri': Thou shall be nice.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- Acclaimed TV screenwriter Ayhan SonyE-rek's second feature-length film "yyi Biri" (A Good Fellow) is finally getting its nationwide theatrical distribution, long after its premiere at the Antalya Altyn Portakal (Golden Orange) Film Festival last October. The film received the festival's Audience Award, an honor that usually goes to the most mainstream film on the line-up, so it's quite surprising that this well-meaning audience-friendly comedy had a delayed screening in cinemas given that the Turkish distribution system prefers to prioritize local comedies over art-house films. Or, maybe this prioritization only works for comedies made by big studios...

"yyi Biri" stars actor Cengiz Bozkurt, a delightful performer especially known for his hilariously conniving role as Erdal Bakkal in Onur E[pounds sterling]nlE-'s highly popular series "Leyla and Mecnun." Here however, Bozkurt takes a 180-degree turn from his acclaimed TV role and plays an incredibly naive, well-intentioned and somewhat daft character called Myzrap. Myzrap is a grown man living with his family in Hatay, roaming around his village with his three-legged dog, Karakyz. His family, especially his father, have grown tired of his unemployment and his good-for-nothing disposition.

Armed with nothing else but his Pollyanna outlook on life, Myzrap decides to go on a journey with his beloved dog to the town of Mut, located in Mersin, where he believes he will find his friend from the army who had promised there was plenty of work available in the region. Penniless but overjoyed with the hope of a new life, Myzrap and Karakyz embark on a long road trip in the southern region of the country. Their mode of travel is mostly walking and hitchhiking, and ultimately depends on the kindness of strangers.

"yyi Biri" could have been an incredible film if it had really put its mind to it, because as I see it, this film is a lost chance. There is nothing more liberating than a character-changing story with beautiful scenery as its backdrop (and mind you, the locations are truly stunning) -- especially when the lead character is disarming and likable. However even though "yyi Biri" has all these qualities in its rock-solid screenplay, the direction, editing and casting fail to do justice to the sweet story it is trying to tell.

While some of the characters that Myzrap meets along the way are eccentrics and weirdos, which are mostly intriguing to the audience, some of them are plain unnecessary and fail to move the film forward. An encounter with a hyper-aggressive and almost schizophrenic love interest in particular pulls the film into swampy waters and fails to deliver the romantic layers.

The editing at times is a tad too slow. Surely there needs to be space for introspection, but sometimes you wish these sequences were shortened not by an editor, but by a butcher.

Yet the film has its charm -- especially thanks to the performances of Bozkurt and Myzrap's furry friend Karakyz (one of the best canine performances I've seen onscreen). Bozkurt literally outdoes himself in his acting; it is clear as the blue skies that he's entirely invested himself in this role, one that could have become ridiculous in the hands of another actor. Thanks to Bozkurt, we come to really like and adopt this oddity named Myzrap, who has no other agenda in the world other than to be a really "good fellow."

Personally I'm not a big fan of Goody Two-Shoes characters, but Myzrap is different. He doesn't take himself seriously and his actions and behavior toward people around him prove he would never even hurt a fly. Perhaps his journey will test his good intentions and remind him that the world can be a big, ugly place, but Myzrap, although unsettled at the end of his journey, will realize that life is pretty much pointless if you don't maintain the right attitude.

"yyi Biri" is a passable feel-good film. It seems it might have a greater chance with TV audiences as opposed to moviegoers. Yet, given the local comedic trash we have to endure these days, we should congratulate SonyE-rek for making a decently witty and intelligent film.

EMyNE YILDIRIM, ySTANBUL (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Jun 22, 2015
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