The Eye of Trust

By Almendra Maria Mcbride Perez

three-monkeys-nuri-bilge-ceylan.jpgThree Monkeys, 2008

Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Three Monkeys is organic beauty. Its sepia, black & white colours haunt the viewer’s soul, as much as the penetrating eyes. Turkey – the East’s gate into the West’s exit from sometimes claustrophobic union’s, is throbbing in every second of the film. Without a need to use Hollywood’s style movies full of banter, music or needless weight. The depth of Ceylan’s genius allows all porous things to breath, to creek, to live. Dark cinema houses, the world over, provide the perfect setting to conspire with the blackness of it all. One’s heart is crushed with sounds of the cicadas, alerting one of the impending doom. The fathers’ ire turns into rage; his jealously melts into seething madness. The steamy atmosphere pervades the room with angst. All manner of emotions creep up, as if a criminal was in the room next door, or sitting right next to one. A cat crawls slowly near the platforms rail. The stench of vomit can be smelled a yard away. One’s stomach becomes the midriff of the world. One’s heart is just a beat away from hell. A man and woman make infernos of passion in high pitch. A pulse becomes a time bomb, expecting an explosion of our grief. A deeply felt, horror induced pain for a woman in mid rape, whose end one fears violent. For a man whose first taste of freedom, after jail, is a jilted bed, freshly warm from a lovers tryst. A boy full of hatred for his dad feels confusion for his mother’s life.

A scene set for a passion crime. One’s life is held in this fermenting broth. Both anguish and fever climb up one’s spine; thrilled by the sting of doubt, which also pierces the pregnant quiet. Poetry for the eyes is mixed with lacerating sight. Vision used as tool, to x-ray the mind caught in a cat and mouse game in an unending quagmire of white panic. A single colour background with a tinge of red gives brief relief to hyper-fear tension. Fraught with expectation of yet worse to come. As African drums heartbeat reaches unimagined heights.

three-monkeys-nuri-bilge-ceylan-2.jpgThree Monkeys, 2008

Terror is silent in Ceylan’s film, yet loud and clear in a look, a face in close up staring at us. Prejudices flow in and out of thought, thinking the worst, expecting more. The living spectre of a child appears and his caress diffuses rage. Bolted in a wronged mans soul. We feel his frame of mind, we want to reach out and say stop, don’t do it. Then in a dark corner he pensively sits. Faith heals. Islam, as portrayed here, is good. Islam is love. The milk of human kindness vents its joy on those alive. He is transformed. She meanwhile has reached the edge. The end is near. Her life hangs in a thread. He sees. He leaves, in a defiant gesture. It’s all lost and yet a ray of hope shines through. Allah is praised.

He is saved, and so is she. And so are we. Her brief smile amidst an obvious guilt stands in between the here and now, and her own yesterday. We sigh, we tremble. All verges in despair. Suicide seems not enough to quell the past. The schism opened between pairs is Ceylan’s work of art! Sombre shadows as an abstract case. Unrecognised, unspoken. Kept secrets wrapped in a crevice in deep caves, whose internal yell screams out man’s criminal intent. A wrong does not cure hell, it increases it.

three-monkeys-nuri-bilge-ceylan-3.jpgThree Monkeys, 2008

In Ceylan’s film heart rules over head at angular points, with soft sweet drops of calm, oasis of joy. Other scenes are brimming with deep shame. Mystery revealed in its full naked truth. A man who abuses love is begged for mercy by a woman crumpled on her knees… Offering love, begging for a destiny. Hate, fury and rage greets this gesture from a woman whose son avenges her grief with bloody hand. A twist, a turn, in a tale of honour; regardless of origin. Mans’ quest for self assurance through others eyes are Manna from Heaven for Ceylan’s hand, through which he paints and weaves his craft for us to think and to feel shame. To inspire all to take a look closer at ones’ own entrails trapped in a cobweb of dread. It reaches out, catching audiences’ conscience unaware. To a rude awakening to life’s crude realities, always based on trust. Ceylan’s eye of trust.

Almendra Maria Mcbride Perez is a writer and journalist living in London.