Men On The Bridge

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Three Istanbul workers, each played by the actual men, strive to get ahead in the bustling Turkish metropolis.


The Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul (not Constantinople) spans the European and Asian sides of the city. As such, traffic on it is in a near-permanent state of gridlock, and director Asli Ozge uses this as his metaphor for the lives of his three central protagonists, a share-cab driver (Umut Ilker), a traffic cop (Murat Tokgöz) and a young, impoverished roadside flower seller (Fikret Portakal). None of the trio are professional actors, giving the film a nice, naturalistic feel (Loachian, if you like), but even despite their trials, it’s difficult to feel for anyone but the most put-upon character — the boy Fikret; Ilker is essentially dishonest, and unlucky-in-love Tokgöz reveals himself to be the Turkish equivalent of a redneck racist, none of which makes the 87 minutes exactly fly by.

Despite one or two nice moments and the naturalistic tone, it's all a bit of a slog.