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Friday, January 8, 2016

A Fishing Community Trapped Inside Itself: Turkish "Dugum Node" Breaks Down Time!

"DUGUM NODE" (2015)
Genre: Experimental
Length- 19:58
Company: N/A

A small island community copes with a shrinking supply of fish and a growing sense of repression from the limited lives they are able to pursue there.  We follow a young boy (Suat Kucukade) and his two older selves: a handsome adult (Murat Yilmaz) and an old man (Tahsin Oktay) as they all attempt to escape the island and the vicious circle it has become for its inhabitants.

A QUIET PLACE

Written, directed and produced by Engin Poyraz "Dugum Node" is a one man show coming to us from Turkey that attempts to thread time in a nonlinear fashion in a similar style to what Christopher Nolan did with his box office smash Interstellar.  Whereas that film had state of the art special effects and tens of millions of dollars in budget to work with, Poyaz's film is forced by budgetary restrictions to use far more humble, but in some ways starker and more affecting, imagery to get across his point.

There are some nice moments in "Dugum Node".  Take for instance the many shots of boats, either being tied or untied -- each one an attempt to escape, but ultimately no matter where the boat goes, it winds up being drawn back to the island shore.  Another inspired moment is when we see the fish struggling to breathe out of water, and the audio of the young boy's breathing is overlaid on top of it.

This short film is clearly made at a real fishing community, and all shots of fish out of water are obviously documentarian in nature, not for cruelty's sake.  There is one brief moment of violence done to a fish, but the camera smartly cuts away.  I am sure this moment would have occurred anyway, but it feels a little more staged because of the camera placement.  It was disturbing to watch, even though it's blink-and-you-miss-it.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 2 / 5.  Poyraz's script buries the meaning of what he's talking about pretty deeply, and it took an entire watch of the film to start to begin to understand what I was seeing.  Even so, the connections to be made were pretty loose, and much of the film feels like random wandering.
Directing: 2 / 5.  Again, there's no sense of a cohesion to what we're seeing -- it all feels random and it doesn't build up to a climax.  There are some nice shots though courtesy of Poyraz and his Director of Photography and editor Omer Oylar.
Editing: 2 / 5.  This movie is simply too long.  At twenty minutes, there is so much down time, so much lighting cigarettes and walking aimlessly about.  The pacing would move a whole lot better if the running time were trimmed down to about ten minutes.  Also, the subtitles were not translated very well.  I could pretty much pick up what they were trying to say, but it took some effort.
Sound/Music: 3 / 5.  The sound is designed well and the music (a couple of Bach pieces performed on cello) is clearly audible.
Acting: 3 / 5.  There is very little dialogue, but everyone does a good job of conveying their feelings.

Final Grade: 2.4 / 5.  

Don't forget to check out the official website for "Dugum Node" and follow the creators on Facebook!



Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!