Film review: Kuma (12A)


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The Independent Culture

Umut Dag's drama of exile is a sombre and haunting slow-burner. At a wedding party in rural Turkey 19-year-old Ayse (Begüm Akkaya) is hitched to a handsome groom and carted off to his expat parents' home in Vienna.

But once there she realises that she's key to a plan of ailing matriarch Fatma (Nihal Koldas) to groom her as her husband's next wife. The plight of Ayse is intimated with understated poignancy: cast adrift from her own family, she is now the resented interloper in someone else's, a victim of a warped tradition.

The film is worth catching just for one narrative sleight-of-hand halfway through, so subtly worked I heard myself gasp. In the central roles, Akkaya and Koldas are both superb, one a sad, sloe-eyed beauty with an urge to do right, the other a kindly traditionalist who doesn't realise the cruelty of her scheming.