Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Writer, director and star Yilmaz Erdoğan scores big with this boisterous epic, which spans decades as it recounts the story of Aziz Özay and his three beautiful daughters. Aziz (Erdoğan) is the mayor of a small Turkish town, and he lords it over his citizens with a vanity that barely conceals his insecurity. Safiye (Sükran Ovali), Muazzez (Farah Zeynep Abdullah) and Türkan (Songül Öden) are his children, all reaching adulthood and looking for love, and they’re quite a handful for the proud patriarch. He protects his children’s virtue and his leadership of the town with the same fervour, but he can’t stop the kids from growing up—nor can he control the tide of history, which moves across Turkey in the form of political crisis.
Sour Apples is a story of a downfall, but it’s far from downbeat; the film is laced with humour and directed with wonderful energy. It’s an old-fashioned film in the best sense of the word, with the sweep of a movie like Gone with the Wind but not a trace of bloat. From grand mountain vistas to ribald humour, it does as much as it can to entertain and move us. Erdoğan has made the type of movie Hollywood no longer has the innocence or intelligence to make—a warm-hearted, inclusive crowd-pleaser.