United States Premiere
2017 • Turkey • 115 min.
Director: Onur Saylak
Screenwriter: Onur Saylak, Dogu Yasar Akal
Cast: Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan, Hayat Van Eck, Turgut Tuncalp
March 25, 2018 @ 1:00 pm
Harvard Film Archive
Onur Saylak’s debut film Daha explores the age-old question of whether monsters are born or bred through the timely prism of the Syrian refugee crisis, crafting along the way a sharp examination of the horrors of the human condition.
14-year old Gaza lives in a small town on the Aegean coast with his domineering father Ahad. Whilst Gaza dreams of studying and going to university, Ahad wants him to learn the ropes of the refugee smuggling business and eventually become his partner. Initially resistant to the idea, Gaza is drawn into a world of immorality and corruption by his father; it isn’t long before Gaza’s soul is at stake in a dark and dangerous game.
Combining the quiet beauty of the Aegean coastline with the ugly brutality of the humans that inhabit this small trading outpost, Daha crafts a landscape as dark as the psyche of people who look upon refugees and see only chattel. There is no escaping the urgent need to confront the world we have helped to create with our politics and silent complicity; Saylak does it in a way that avoids judgement or moralizing.
Boasting screen-shattering performances from first timer Hayat Van Eck and brilliant actor Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan, Daha is the kind of debut that happens only once a decade: with an assured hand, Onur Saylak adapts Hakan Günday’s award-winning novel into a story so horrific and real that no audience will be able to avoid the frightening and pertinent questions the film dares to ask. Do not miss the opportunity to see this milestone in Turkish cinema on the big screen as intended.
NOTE: This film received no state funding from Turkey and was made only with private backing.
– Evrim Ersoy