What a beautiful and perfect movie!
Yes, we are back to Turkey.
But this film is very much about the passions of youthful revolution.
Is Trump a revolutionary?
Was George Washington a revolutionary?
But the strain of revolutionary verve in this film is that of communism.
I don’t hate communism.
I don’t hate anything.
But I think some things are not so good.
With communism, I mainly criticize it on an economic level.
Have I read Marx?
Not very much.
But I’ve read enough Debord to get the late-60s version of Marxism.
I would argue that Debord, one of my three favorite writers, was at his best when he was NOT talking about Marxism.
When he goes off on Marxist tangents, he loses me.
I find it boring.
And, as I’ve said, I object to it on economic grounds.
I have a college degree in music.
[which will be very important in reviewing this film]
But I have an advanced degree (above and beyond that) in business.
Am I a genius of economics? No.
But I questioned. I was skeptical. I studied Marx.
And I found the capitalist system to be the best system.
It is, by no means, perfect.
And so why, then, do I like Guy Debord?
Perhaps no one in history hated capitalism more than Guy Debord 🙂
I respect Debord because he was a brilliant social critic.
I do not agree with his economic assumptions.
I do not agree with his Marxist assumptions.
But when it comes to a critique of capitalism (which is the underpinning of globalism), no one has found the flaws like Debord.
No one has completely dismantled the matrix in which we live (the “spectacle”) quite like Debord.
And so his book The Society of the Spectacle is essential reading in my opinion.
At least the first few chapters.
As I said, Debord gets a bit bogged down in Marxism and loses his poetic divining power concomitantly.
But let’s discuss this film.
This is, by far, the best Turkish film I’ve ever seen.
Granted, I think this is only the fourth I’ve ever watched 🙂
But this is really a special movie!
Wikipedia says that it is set in a small town near Adana.
For that, I will say hi to the American soldiers at Incirlik Air Base 🙂
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for representing the United States. Thank you for your service. We love you and we pray for your safety and happiness!
It is true.
I love our American troops.
Most of my life I did not appreciate these wonderful people.
I took it for granted…
“Somebody will do that job…”
But in my older age, I respect these soldiers very much.
But let us shift back to this film.
First, let us thank the two directors: Sırrı Süreyya Önder and Muharrem Gülmez.
They have made an almost perfect movie.
Really, this film is so, so good!
But you must be warned, my dear friends: it is simple.
It you are looking for a complex, confusing film, then you will be disappointed.
Such that, you must be like a child–like a youth to appreciate the naïveté of this masterwork.
So I would say this: it’s a bit like a Turkish version of Cinema Paradiso.
Do you see what I am getting at?
It is poetic.
The mise-en-scène is a bit like what we might expect from Claude Monet (were he still alive).
It is loving.
Large swaths of color.
And, perhaps most quintessential, it is unassuming.
Down to earth.
There’s no condescension in this film.
Come as you are.
First movie you’ve ever seen?
No problem 🙂
It is that sort of loving masterpiece!
It is set in Turkey in 1982.
80s-style clothing. The Turkish version 🙂
A junta is in place. A military government. Martial law.
And one band of musicians gets rooked into being a “marching band” (of sorts).
But these are folk musicians 🙂
They don’t play brass instruments. They don’t play the sousaphone.
So it is a very steep learning curve (which sounds a lot like Charles Ives in its beginning stages) 🙂
But let’s get to the most important point.
“I fell in love with the actress/She was playing a part that I could understand”
Just two years younger than me.
She is the star of this film.
Amazing facility as an actress.
But really just a glow–a vibrance in her every gesture.
Here is someone who is glad to be alive 🙂
And it made me glad to be alive!!!
But let me tell you the other star: Cezmi Baskın!
He has no Wikipedia page in English, but he is a wiseman.
A saint of an actor.
He plays the bandleader.
And his daughter in the film is Özgü Namal.
Umut Kurt does a very good job as the young communist.
And, hence, the title of the film: The International.
The most famous of communist anthems.
Yes, dear friends, it is that melody written in 1888 by Pierre De Geyter which is the MacGuffin of this film.
The whole plot hinges on it.
Derrida would call it the brisure (if film were a text).
I will say this: the struggles in this film are very real to this day for the people of Turkey.
I would say our communist character would probably today be a member of the CHP party in Turkey: Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi.
The Republican People’s Party 🙂
Which is funny because in the U.S., the Republicans (whom I support…more or less) are conservative or “right wing”.
So, yes: the CHP is “left wing”.
But as I say, this is a very fine film.
It shows very much the love which a father can have for his daughter.
It shows the sacrifices which parents make for their children.
Parents will even die to save their children.
This is a funny movie, but it has this tone of seriousness as well.
Actually, the whole film is like a brilliant joke 🙂
It starts very serious…
But the it becomes festive and ridiculous!
Most of all, there are so many poetic camera shots of Turkish life.
Little things which we don’t see in America.
So an American can learn some of another culture.
But also, we see that people all around the world have similar worries and dreams as us.
Well, I don’t want to tell you too much.
I will just say that this is well-worth watching.
It is a bit long, but I watched it in two installments.
And the subtitles are good 🙂
Anyway, it is on Netflix streaming in the U.S. currently as Beynelmilel.
I am so glad I found this film 🙂
Great line: “I questioned. I was skeptical. I studied Marx. And I found the capitalist system to be the best system.”
I’m not a Marxist, but there is a genuine struggle between workers and capital. Not all companies pay “fair wages.” While I don’t support a $15 minimum wage (a foolish one-size fits all policy), I do support, in principle, more private sector unionization.
Thanks, Chris! I think Marxism is great on paper (or in theory). It just doesn’t seem to work in practical settings. You are wise to be open-minded! Thanks again!!! –Paul