Inflame (SXSW 2017)
Starring Algi Eke, Ozgur Cevik, Kadir Cermik
Directed by Ceylan Ozgun Ozcelik
Paranoia can be a bitch, that’s for sure – if your mind is set on thinking whether or not you’re being watched, regardless of if that is an actuality, your mind is preset to think that the “eyes” are upon you… yeah, pretty insightful stuff – either that or I’ve been awake for far too long. Inflame, the latest from director Ceylan Ozgun Ozcelik, takes said paranoia to a level that attacks not only the conscious, but the subconscious mind, completely throwing a wrench into one young lady’s mental framework.
After just having its initial screening at this year’s SXSW, the film centers around a woman named Hasret (Eke), who is holding down a rather thankless job as a news editor in Istanbul, and from the film’s onset you can see the general unhappiness seeping out of her soul with every passing day.
In desperate need of a mental vacation, she ventures off to her home in a dilapidated historical neighborhood and immediately begins to suspect something isn’t right. Sensing Big Brother is just over her shoulder, peering into her world, her visions escape to earlier times in her life when she spent her days with her parents, who’ve now passed on. Seems that their deaths due to an auto accident back in 1993 isn’t sitting with Hasret so well – she starts to doubt the final word on their cessation – you see, that damned paranoia is rearing its ugly head once again.
As her visions become more and more realistic, she inaugurates a shutdown of her social activity, shearing off any communication with her friends and workers. It all adds up to a spiral down the insanity staircase that at times is unflinchingly tough to set eyes upon, but more so expressively vivid in its display. Eke is fantastic as the mentally tormented lead, and her emotions fit perfectly up against the dystopian backdrop we’re viewing – what better way to frame a troubled mind than to imagine it unable to escape the world it’s in? Pretty frightening stuff.
If there were a negative to focus upon, it would be the unrelenting slow pace of the film, which in essence is necessary in order to convey this kind of story, but I found myself clockwatching as this movie dragged on, and I simply despise doing that.
Overall, if you find yourself with some time to spare and don’t mind a little molasses with your neurosis, by all means indulge in this one.