Screened at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, Confession brings a chilling, Dostoevskian feel to its searing look at the disintegration of a marriage. Harun (Taner Birsel) and Nilgün (Başak Köklükaya) have been married for seven years. Their relationship seems uneventful enough, with little outward strife. Then Harun suspects his wife of having an affair, and he begins to draw apart from her. Yet he fears that confronting her might actually bring the affair into the open—or end the marriage. With excellent performances from his two leads, director Zeki Demirkubuz makes Confession into a deeply moving study of people living with unhappiness and the toll it takes on their daily lives. There are neither heroes nor villains here, just victims. — The Film Society of Lincoln Center (Mubi)
Reviewed by: George Williamson
Harun (Taner Birsel) is a businessman, who spends most of his time in the city, far away from his wife (Basak Köklükaya), whom he believes to be having an affair.
One night, after returning home unannounced, he finds the bedroom empty. When she arrives, finally, there are hushed words on the telephone and she slips into bed without waking him. Deciding that he wants to know the truth, he confronts her, demanding an apology for the crime he is sure she has committed. He does get an answer, but it’s not what he expected.
Confession is a visually impressive film, using high contrast digital photography to make the daytime burn and the nights darker than reality. The opening scene is particularly beautiful; a slow pan over a lurid azure sea, past violent yellow cabs on writhing tarmac, into Harun’s office, where you feel the stifling heat and smell the oppressive air.
The pacing is deliberate and languorous. Vast expanses of time are spent on intermediate scenes that, in other films, would be used to interconnect plot development. It’s similar to Wong Kar Wai’s In The Mood For Love, where the story is spun out in these interludes.
The Turkish director, Zeki Demirkubuz, stretches them even further, focussing on a character’s features for extended periods, or during a driving scene, watching the twitching shadows on a dashboard.
The overall impression is that Confession is too slow, and fairly tedious, which is a shame, because it is well made and beautifully photographed. Also, the story would be more interesting if it was pared down and leaner.
Reviewed on: 10 Aug 2002