It was the year 2015. Can Evrenol’s first feature film, “Baskın,” was released in theaters. I took my place in the cinema on its opening day and watched it. It was a whirlwind of excitement until the last 30 minutes. What’s happening, what’s happening!? A level of Gore that had never been done before in Turkey, not even attempted. It can be summed up in one word: magnificent. However, the final 30 minutes were a disaster. I didn’t dwell on the ending too much because I was excited about the potential the director could unleash. Was a filmmaker coming who would revolutionize the horror genre? 2015 was a good year for Can Evrenol. Unfortunately, he disappeared after the 60th minute of “Baskın.” We’re searching, but we can’t find him. We can’t find him in “The Girl with No Mouth” either.
On the first day it was screened as part of the !F Istanbul Film Festival, I went to see “The Girl with No Mouth.” I usually watch Can Evrenol’s films on their first day of release. But for the last two films, they have left me disappointed. During the preview of “Housewife,” he almost sat next to me. Thankfully, he didn’t. I wouldn’t have wanted to annoy him with my sighs and huffs throughout the film. Unfortunately, “Housewife” was a film I did not like at all. I hesitantly attended his third film, hoping for something better, but… The result, for me, was still a disappointment, once again.
Let’s briefly discuss the plot… There has been an explosion in the world, and life has changed drastically. As viewers, we find ourselves in a forest far from the city. We are guests at the home of Perihan and her father, who should not actually be there, and they live in constant fear. Their days of hiding from everything are unfortunately numbered. Orders have come from above: the forest will be cleared. Thus, an endless pursuit begins for Perihan. Evading the law enforcement officers trying to capture her, Perihan encounters “incomplete” children like herself on the way. She meets this group called the Pirates and joins forces with them to survive.
Let’s start with the positive aspects. Can Evrenol is an exceptional name in terms of ideas, something unique in Turkey. His scripts have an American touch. I can truly appreciate him in this regard. He adapts the classics of that genre to Turkish settings. Why not? This is why Can Evrenol is a valuable figure in his experiments. “The Girl with No Mouth” is, for this reason, a worthwhile film. We can call it the first attempt in Turkey at a genre that has become classic in America. In Hollywood, films like “The Girl with All the Gifts” are made every year. So why not here, right? I congratulate Can Evrenol on this front. He has made a venture that deserves support, in my opinion.
However… Unfortunately, the film he presents lacks quality. Yes, Turkey needs to open up to the West and embrace different ideas. But I believe that if they do so with better quality, making it more watchable, it will be much better. Everything from Can Evrenol’s direction to the screenplay is problematic. Especially, he faces significant issues with the screenplay. The dialogues, in particular, are genuinely awful. The film has a structure that often reveals where it’s heading, sometimes repeating itself, and occasionally making you wonder, “Why did that happen?” Unfortunately, having a good concept but a screenplay that doesn’t support it with the necessary quality results in a bad film. Because of the poor quality of the dialogues, you lose your concentration after a certain point in the film.
I’ll criticize Can Evrenol in one more aspect. I can understand to some extent that the screenplay is terrible, but I believe he ignored the technical aspects of the film. The cuts and camera movements are pretty poor. The worst part is the sound mixing. There are moments where it’s evident that there’s dubbing. In the same scene, different sound depths bothered someone like me who pays attention to these details. I specifically mentioned this issue in “Housewife.” The voiceovers are bad. I think he should be more careful about sound in his next film. It disrupts the entire flow.
In summary… Can Evrenol presents a style that goes beyond Turkish standards, a style rarely if ever attempted with Girl with No Mouth. Despite its childlike appearance, it has moments of harshness. The concept is valuable in terms of experimentation. However, the quality of the experiment is unfortunately poor. The mediocrity of the screenplay, bad dialogues, and occasional technical issues make the film less than engaging. I applaud him for being different, but I reiterate what I said earlier. Since the 60th minute of “Baskın,” he seems to have disappeared. I think I’m starting to lose my curiosity about him.
Cast & Crew
director: Can Evrenol
writers: Can Evrenol, Kutay Ucun
starring: Denizhan Akbaba, Özgür Civelek, Sermet Yeşil, Mehmet Yılmaz Ak, Özay Fecht, Kaan Alp Dayı, Elif Sevinç
TURKEY | 2019 | 07 MINUTES |