The debut feature of the young Turkish filmmaker Mehmet Can Mertoglu puts a middle-class Anatolian married couple with dubious intentions in the absurd straight-jacket of Turkish bureaucracy. The young couple – both languid and violent, droll and frightening – prove highly inventive when they fake a family photo album so as to hide from their entourage that they have adopted a child. The convergence of these two storylines lends the film a cynical dimension conveyed by often-incriminating tableaux (each sequence forms an intriguing picture); the administration is asleep, the couple readily racist. Playing on slapstick and deep-black humour, it seems clear that Mertoglu is not brimming with empathy for his characters, and even less so for his fellow citizens, whom he prefers to plunge into a societal quagmire brilliantly rendered by his cold and rigorous mise en scène. Yet, by avoiding all formal complacency thanks to his diversity of tone, Albüm is a film of cinema in the sense that it continually raises the question of how to represent an absurd and elusive reality, yet create a clear dramatic link between its representations and those that bring it to life. Turkish society does not come out with flying colours. The film, selected by the 2016 Critics’ Week at Cannes, was first discovered at the Nantes Produire au Sud Workshop. GM
The producer and director of this film have benefited from the Produire au Sud workshop expertise in 2012. Produire au Sud is the professional program of the Festival of 3 Continents.