The Festival of Troubadours review: A poignant portrayal of a father-son relationship

The Festival of Troubadours is a Turkish drama about a father and son who meet unexpectedly after 25 years and embark on a journey to the festival of troubadours. They begin to work on their old wounds and complex relationship during their long journey to Kars. The movie is now streaming on Netflix.

Story

Yusuf, a criminal attorney, is surprised by the unexpected arrival of his old father, Ali, at his door after so many years. His father decides to stay at his house after visiting his mother’s grave due to the heavy rain.

Ali plans to travel to Arkanya and then to Kars the following morning. When Yusuf learns that his father’s health is deteriorating, he feels responsible for his care and resolves to join him at the Kars.

Most of their journey is spent in silence, surrounded by discomfort, anger, and despair. Yusuf makes a few attempts to ask questions and reconnect with his father, who hasn’t contacted him in years and has never expressed any care for him.

His father’s condition worsens, but he continues on his journey to say farewell and plead for forgiveness from his friends and lovers.

Although he’s taken to the hospital, Ali insists that Yusuf must take him to Kars for the festival of troubadours. He accompanies his father to the festival of troubadours in the private ambulance to fulfil his father’s final dying wish and reunite him with his friends one last time.

Performances

The performance of Kivanc Tatlitug as Yusuf, who is excellent in the lead part, really captures the emotional agony expressed as rage and bitterness toward his father, who abandoned him. This performance alone makes the film worthwhile to watch.

Settar Tanriögen’s performance as Heves Ali stands out, particularly in his portrayal of the life of an aged musician and a roaming bard, and he manages to stay authentic to his character.

The other supporting characters are fantastic and brilliantly cast, especially Laçin Ceylan as Zere and Ugur Uzunel as Salim.

Positives

The film captures the audience’s heart with its excellent portrayal of a complex father-son relationship.

There are some scenes in this film that are difficult to forget, particularly the ending sequence, in which a distraught Yusuf exits the ambulance and weeps because he has no one to vent his years and years of abandonment rage to. The audience is not spared from witnessing his painful final moments, in which he is unable to reconcile his deep-seated relationship issues with his father.

The ending quickly draws the audience into a philosophical argument over who is right and wrong, which is difficult to separate, and the film does not attempt to answer those questions, which are left for the rest of the audience to answer.

The cinematography, stunning scenery, and Turkish folk music gatherings are the film’s finest attractions, as they sway with emotional depth and contribute to the film’s authentic vibe.

The story and backdrop of the road journey flesh out the characters while also touching on their own insecurities and allowing better ground for confrontation.

Negatives

The ending is somewhat predictable and the audience can see it coming, yet there is this need to see for oneself if Yusuf and Ali’s relationship is mendable or not.

Because the film moves slowly and has non-linear storytelling, there are times when it feels stagnant. Although it is a really well-made film with many lessons to be learned, it simply isn’t engaging enough.

Verdict

There are many emotions being repressed by the characters, giving it complexity and adding layers to the silence that permeates until the end, but the leisurely pace makes it difficult for the audience to endure. An intriguing and overlong film which is worth seeing once but not one that should be eagerly recommended.

The Festival of Troubadours
The Festival of Troubadours review: A poignant portrayal of a father-son relationship 1

Director: Özcan Alper

Date Created: 2022-09-02 12:30

Editor's Rating:
4

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