Bal review

A tale of the relationship between a ridiculously cute, circular faced, wide-eyed boy living in rural Turkey and his doomed father, a honey collector.

Winner of the Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear in 2010, Bal (literally “honey” in Turkish) gets off to a good start, firmly establishing the inquisitive 6-year-old child, brilliantly played by Bora Altas, and the close relationship he has with his father, framed with attractive shots in woods and his rustic, basic, wooden home, and accompanied by a minimal atmospheric soundtrack.

The film opens with a flash-forward to the father’s death so we know we’re not headed for the happiest of endings and although the depth, subtlety and complexity of the relationship between man and boy is admirably gradually revealed, the film is slow and dramatic events are too few and far between. It is oddly balanced, with what you might expect to be the midpoint, even the end of a first act, happening not far from the end of the film. More of a snapshot of a touching relationship than a strong story about one.

3 out of 5

21st Jul 2011 | Official site | On IMDb