The Funeral

The Funeral (Cenaze) poster

It is a request he would refuse if he were in a position to do so, but while it is phrased as such by his employer it is obvious to Cemal that he has little choice but to obey and that difficult questions are not to be asked: the body of a young woman placed in his care, all he knows is that she is the daughter of an important family from the city, implied to be the victim of an honour killing, to be taken away and hidden until the funeral.

A clandestine and uneasy arrangement, Cemal is startled to hear noises from the back of his refrigerated van, wheezing noises from the body bag which he opens to find the corpse is moving, somehow alive despite the bullet wound in her head, conscious if not fully aware of where she is; taking her into his motel room to clean her up, Cemal attempts to care for her, finding her clothes… and food.

The Funeral (Cenaze); newly awakened after her murder, Zeynep (Cansu Türedi) is hungry for flesh.

Displaying aspects of a zombie and a vampire, wrapped up in the mystery of the cult whose ceremonies have given rise to the hungry revenant, The Funeral (Cenaze) is directed by Orçun Behram, starring Ahmet Rifat Sungar as Cemal, the driver whose obligations expand beyond the remit of his unwanted arrangement, and Cansu Türedi as Zeynep, her needs driving her to seek and feed off fresh meat.

Cemal falling into his role as provider without resistance and accepting that human flesh is what is needed to give strength to his charge, his journey to killer is achieved somewhat easily without apparent misgivings or turmoil, though he is not an especially good one, first luring an old friend to the motel car park to strangle him before he is dismembered in the small bedroom, more cleaning and body parts to dispose of.

The Funeral (Cenaze); a masked member of the cult waits for the return of the body to complete the ceremony.

Zeynep apparently able to comprehend Cemal after a fashion although she herself is non-verbal, it is difficult to negotiate with the dead and their demands but also obviates any emotional understanding or bond between corpse and carer which might explain Cemal’s actions and so bear the weight of the film, and unlike the dead the question is never raised why he has chosen murder rather than destroy her, nor is any satisfying explanation offered as to why she was killed or came back.

Crawling towards the final scene where Zeynap is finally returned to her family, the masked cult a contrast to the huddled mourners weeping in the rain of the opening scene and seeming as surprised as Cemal that she is alive and dangerous, The Funeral is a drab slog where only the bizarre and disturbing dream sequences offer brief moments of interest, feeling in some ways akin to 30 Days of Night but most particularly in that it seems as though a full month passes while watching the film.

The Glasgow Film Festival concluded on Sunday 10th March

The Funeral (Cenaze); lost in a frozen dreamscape, Cemal (Ahmet Rifat Sungar) has no answers and no direction.



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