By Sascha Krieger
Okul Tıraşı (Panorama / Turkey, Romania / Director: Ferit Karahan)
A boarding school deep in the Kurdish region of Turkey. The atmosphere is rough, the tone harsh, the authoritarianism relentless. When a boy gets sick his friend has a hard time getting help. Later the events leading to this point are unraveled, exposing a web of carelessness, a totalitarian education system, suppression, corruption and selfishness in which, in the end, the weakest will be the ones to blame. The camera is almost always on young Yusuf, his face, his bent body, the regid fear in all his demeanor. The images are as cold as the atmosphere, the winter puts an icy layer on the screen. The world we see is stifling, harsh, brutal in its inhumaneness. What starts as a social drama narrows into a micro detective story where everyone’s guilty, even the victims. The mechanisms of a system intent of suduing everyone are seen at work in the almost absurd failure to deal with an emergency but also in smal background scenes, glimpses of despair, miniatures of hopelessness. The brief moment of cheeky playfulness recede as everyone and everything, including family, is seen to be part of the system. As the focus narrows on the school’s cold sickroom, the world vbecomes smaller and amaller. A prison with no access to the outside world, a self-suppicient system of breaking souls. That end with devastating look, resign, accusing, defeated.