Panorama | Vanguard
A transfixing sophomore feature from 26-year-old Turkish director Burak Çevik, Belonging opens with a story. Not just any story, but a sordid tale of senseless violence: his grandmother’s murder by his Aunt Pelin and her lover Onur. Recalling the performance style favoured by French master Robert Bresson, a man’s voice relays the details of the crime in chilling, affectless monotone - and for while, no actors appear. There are only shots of locations - each corresponding to the story being told - and a sense of impending disaster.
Drawing from his own family trauma, Çevik has fashioned a structurally audacious experience. After that extended prologue, we now observe the initial meeting between Pelin (Eylül Su Sapan) and Onur (Çaglar Yalçinkaya), a soldier currently on leave. Their easy chemistry is palpable from the start, but a sense of foreboding remains. Will their story turn out the same way? A highlight of Berlinale’s Forum section earlier this year, this richly suggestive feature unnerves and seduces all at once.
"Belonging is a therapeutic gesture that rises above psychological and moral judgments to navigate the complexity of family history." - Yonca Talu, Film Comment