Nuri Bilge Ceylan, the auteur behind Three Monkeys, didnt win the best-director bauble at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival for his hyperkinetic visuals and mastery of the smash cut. On his latest, he tends to set his camera in place and allow it to stare pitilessly at his subjects for long stretches; one cliffside sequence runs for almost three minutes without a single pan or edit. The storyline, which is set into motion when a politician (Ercan Kesal) pays his driver (Yavuz Bingol) to take the fall for vehicular homicide, touches on adultery, pederasty and assorted elements that might have turned pulpy in other hands. Instead, Bilge Ceylan imbues them with seriousness of purpose that can be riveting at times e.g., one of the most menacing and disturbing bedroom scenes in recent cinema. But repeated scenes of characters stricken dumb by guilt, ennui or some combination thereof are as apt to produce torpor as existential dread. Thats yet another form of evil about which these characters dont speak.
Three Monkeys does business at 4:30 and 7:15 p.m. on Friday, May 29 at the Starz FilmCenter in the Tivoli. Additional screenings are scheduled through June 4; tickets range from $6 to $9.50. Learn more at 303-595-3456 or www.denverfilm.org.
June 12-18, 2009