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Films 2015 - Turkey - The Road / (Yol)

The Road / (Yol)

Director: Yılmaz Güney, Şerif Gören, 1982

Language: Turkish, Kurdish
114 minutes – Turkey

Yol (Turkish for "The Road" or "The Way") is an older but classic Turkish film. The screenplay was written by Güney, but it was directed by his assistant Şerif Gören, who strictly followed Güney's instructions, while Güney was in prison. Güney escaped from prison, took the negatives of the film to Switzerland, and later edited the film in Paris.

The film is a portrait of Turkey in the aftermath of the 1980 Turkish coup d'état: its people and its authorities are shown via the stories of five prisoners given a week's home leave. The film caused much controversy in Turkey, and was banned until 1999 (ostensibly due to Yılmaz Güney's involvement rather than its content).

Yol tells the story of several prisoners on furlough. Seyit Ali travels to his home to find that his wife has betrayed him and works as a prostitute. She was caught by her family and held captive for Seyit Ali to end her life in an honor killing. Though determined at first, he changes his mind when she starts to freeze while travelling in the snow. Despite his efforts to keep her alive, she dies. Her accidental death relieves Seyit Ali from family pressure and also saves him from justice, but he returns to jail with an internal struggle over what has happened.

Mehmet Salih has been arrested for his role in a heist with his brother-in-law, whom he abandoned while being shot at by police. Now his in-laws want nothing to do with him, and he is forced to tell his wife Emine the truth. Emine and Mehmet Salih decide to run away by train. On the train, they get caught in the toilet while having long-awaited sex with each other. They are saved from an angry mob by the train's officers and held in a cabin before being handed over to officials. But then a young boy from Emine's family, who had boarded the train, shoots both Mehmet Salih and Emine.

Ömer returns to his border village which the army monitors due to smuggling. Ömer arranges to cross the border to escape prison. Though Ömer is determined, he abandons this plan after his smuggler brother is shot dead. As a result of his brother's death, Ömer inherits the responsibilities of his brother's wife and children, as dictated by tradition.

Each prisoner in the film suffers from a conflict that threatens his freedom, as well as from traditions that are imprisoning.