Kuma (2012)

Kuma
Director: Umut Dag
Writer: Petra Ladinigg
Cast: Nihal G. Koldas, Begüm Akkaya, Vedat Erincin, Murathan Muslu, Alev Imak, Dilara Karabayir

Plot:
Fatma (Nihal G. Koldas) is very ill. Worried about her family in case she died, she decided that her husband Mustafa (Vedat Erincin) needs a second wife. So she arranged that Ayse (Begüm Akkaya) can officially marry their son Hasan (Murathan Muslu), so she can come to Austria from Turkey. But the rest of the family, especially Fatma’s older daughters Kezban (Alev Irmak) and Nurcan (Dilara Karabayir), are less than excited about the situation. Not to mention Ayse herself.

Kuma is told from a perspective that is usually rather unaccessible for people outside of the Austro-Turkish community and it is a pretty interesting perspective at that. Unfortunately, it tries to take on a little too much.

I enjoyed Kuma for its politics and its perspective. Even though Turkish immigrants are quite a huge group in Austria, they don’t really get to tell their stories much. I liked seeing the world through their eyes and both Ladinigg and Dag treat their characters with respect.

But I just felt that they tried to take on a little too much. Probably because we don’t get to hear these stories often, they tried to put pretty much everything in there. That gets a little too much and a bit more focus would have helped.

Generally it is quite noticeable that Umut Dag is not a very experienced film maker and that the film was done by a very young team. It does have its charms, but mostly it just means that the whole thing gets a bit klonky. That’s especially obvious in the editing and the lack of strong direction for the actors. Not that the cast wasn’t talented – but it seemed like they were left to their own devices a little bit.

Nevertheless, I really hope to see more movies like it – taking on that perspective and tackling those topics. I do hope that Kuma opened those doors a little bit.

Summarising: Well-meaning.

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