Directed by: #EzelAkay
“A resilient housewife, Leyla (Demet Akbağ,) her husband Adem (Haluk Bilginer) and their marriage therapist Nergis (Elçin Sangu) become mired in a toxic love triangle and a plot to obtain an antique manuscript.”
Although this short synopsis really doesn’t give the film any depth before watching, it is better to dive into the story with only a slight idea of what to expect. Leyla Everlasting is a Turkish Netflix film that encompasses elements of dark comedy, stylish violence and, with twists of almost ‘supernatural’ inserts, the storyline grows more intriguing and complex throughout its duration.
This film is based on a Turkish play called ‘9 Lives.’ Without any spoilers, the name comes from the number of times Adem tries to kill Leyla in this play. Leyla Everlasting takes this play and intertwines it very well with the script used on set rather than on stage; it is difficult to achieve such a transition like this in screenplay and, despite at some points the story feeling rather offbeat, Ezel Akay, Özlem Lale, Ugur Saatci and Adnan Yildirim collectively presented a praiseworthy piece of writing in film. Extending the theatrical undertones that can be found through the writing, the film includes leads that are easily recognisable from Turkish theatre, like Demet Akbağ.
I haven’t been able to find much information on the genuine content of the play itself, however I do feel that the film has been adapted in a more modern sense in comparison. Leyla Everlasting begins with a burst of modern marriage struggles; a man seemingly experiencing a form of a mid-life crisis as he ponders over divorce. As time passes, the story progresses to achieve a more sophisticated meaning which can leave some audiences wondering deeper about their current surroundings and circumstances – if you remove the factors of the story that are clearly fictional of course.
Something I feel quite disappointed by is the lack of a bond between myself as a viewer and the characters. But, after watching, I started to question myself: ‘was I supposed to feel a natural bond anyway?’ By looking at the story and the characters in a different perspective it can change the way one watches the entire film. Instead of being enveloped in the atmosphere with the characters, this type of film calls for audiences to step outside of that narrative and watch the events unfold from there. This is where the theatrical undertones shine through as, as an audience member in a theatre, watching the stage is like watching from the outside of a box. Films tend to feel more personal; a closer connection to characters tends to be widely expected. But with the great adaption from the stage to the screen, audiences are able to enter a new experience.
The most impressive factor of Leyla Everlasting is the overall visuals of the film. The locations, the cinematography (by Hayk Kirakosyan) and the general camera work (camera operation by Yakup Algül) expertly pair together to produce stunning scenes; some with truly shattering vibrancy. If you’re someone who favours colourful visuals that immediately stimulate the senses then you have the best mind in order to appreciate the work shown in this film.
In its entirety, Leyla Everlasting is quite an enjoyable watch, and I can guarantee that its very different from the films you currently have waiting in your Netflix list.