Bal (Honey)

Bal (Honey)

Set in an isolated region in Northeast Turkey, Honey (Bal) arrives at Yusuf's childhood when six year old Yusuf has just started primary school and is learning how to read and write. His father Yakup works as a honey-gatherer, a risky trade which involves climbing up ropes into the tops of trees where the hives are. To Yusuf, who accompanies his father to work, the forest becomes a place of mystery and adventure, and he watches his father in admiration as he works sometimes higher than the eye can see. Yusuf and his father have a very strong bond and although he is tongue-tied to the point of stuttering paralysis in social situations, he can read and speak quite clearly when he’s addressing his father. Ridiculed by his classmates for his stammer, Yusuf’s anxieties escalate when his father must travel to a faraway forest to hang his hives in a treacherous mountainous area. Days pass and Yusuf and his mother become anxious when Yakup doesn’t return. Distraught, Yusuf slips into silence but finally summons all his courage and alone, runs deep into the forest to search for his father. A journey into the unknown. 3.8 out of 5 based on 13 reviews
Bal (Honey)

Omniscore:

Certificate PG
Genre Drama
Director Semih Kaplanoglu
Cast Erdal Besikcioglu, Tulin Ozen, Ayse Altay, Alev Ucarer Bora Atlas
Studio Verve Pictures
Release Date July 2011
Running Time 104m
 

Set in an isolated region in Northeast Turkey, Honey (Bal) arrives at Yusuf's childhood when six year old Yusuf has just started primary school and is learning how to read and write. His father Yakup works as a honey-gatherer, a risky trade which involves climbing up ropes into the tops of trees where the hives are. To Yusuf, who accompanies his father to work, the forest becomes a place of mystery and adventure, and he watches his father in admiration as he works sometimes higher than the eye can see. Yusuf and his father have a very strong bond and although he is tongue-tied to the point of stuttering paralysis in social situations, he can read and speak quite clearly when he’s addressing his father. Ridiculed by his classmates for his stammer, Yusuf’s anxieties escalate when his father must travel to a faraway forest to hang his hives in a treacherous mountainous area. Days pass and Yusuf and his mother become anxious when Yakup doesn’t return. Distraught, Yusuf slips into silence but finally summons all his courage and alone, runs deep into the forest to search for his father. A journey into the unknown.

Reviews

The Financial Times

Nigel Andrews

The movie’s magic is all in the colour, the landscapes and the sounds – yes, Simon and Garfunkel were right – of silence … Bora Altas’s performance, as the boy – touching, funny, incandescent – is one of those classic screen turns by a child, up there with The Kid and The Red Balloon.

14/07/2011

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The Independent

Anthony Quinn

Bora Altas, as the boy, has a face of such sweet solemnity it could move a stone, or a beehive, come to that ... Honey pays homage to the grace and mystery of nature, but it will linger as one of the great modern films about childhood.

15/07/2011

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The New York Times

Andy Webster

[Bal] has no musical soundtrack (and barely any dialogue), only a quiet, unforced, organic rhythm. And those spellbinding images. Like the viewer, Kaplanoglu is quite happy to let nature do the talking and cast a lyrical, mysterious spell.

24/03/2011

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The Observer

Philip French

...beautiful, contemplative, carefully composed…

17/07/2011

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

It is a film whose unhurried pace must be allowed to grow on you, but once it has, there is something engrossing about the tragedy unfurling slowly and indirectly before our eyes. Some of the images Kaplanoglu finds are superb: a forest, a mountainside, a rippling, pulsing moon reflected in a pool of water. It is poetic film-making.

14/07/2011

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The Evening Standard

Charlotte O'Sullivan

Perhaps not surprisingly, it has been compared to sentimental art-house hits such as Cinema Paradiso, but it's closer in spirit to Samantha Morton's directing debut, The Unloved. Both films capture the obsessive passion a child can feel for a vulnerable parent … A single section (involving a music festival) is superfluous. Elsewhere, Yusef's trials feel exquisitely urgent.

15/07/2011

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Time Out

Semih Kaplanoglu

Filming in long, meticulously sculpted takes, Kaplanoglu is especially good at emphasising elements within the frame with inventive use of focus and the positioning of the camera … A deserving winner of the Golden Bear at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival.

14/07/2011

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The Times

Wendy Ide

Languidly paced and contemplative, there is a mournful beauty to this final part of the trilogy which makes it the most successful of the three films — it’s certainly, thanks to the charismatic performance from Bora Altas as little Yusuf, the most engaging of the trilogy.

15/07/2011

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Total Film

Tom Dawson

Shot in long, fixed takes and relying on natural light and sounds, this is a beautifully photographed if emotionally muted study of lost innocence. For all its pleasures, it covers terrain already heavily mined by other arthouse filmmakers.

13/07/2011

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The Daily Express

Allan Hunter

Beautiful images and a poetic sense of yearning are the virtues of this delicate tale.

15/07/2011

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Empire Magazine

Ian Freer

Replete with the artistic style of recent Middle Eastern art house cinema but lacking the substance to truly engage the viewer.

01/07/2011

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The Daily Telegraph

Tim Robey

The film itself has a weightlessness, suspended between one exquisitely-lit shot and the next. It’s lovely, and lacking something — a spark of oddity, maybe.

14/07/2011

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The Scotsman

Alistair Harkness

Some films are so wilfully slow and meditative they end up exerting a hypnotic hold on you that takes you somewhere you didn't expect to go. Other films are so wilfully slow and meditative they feel like academic exercises in navel-gazing. Sadly, Honey falls into the latter category.

16/07/2011

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