Nobody really likes the idea of a 50+ year old man marrying a girl barely into her teens as part of an arranged marriage, particularly against the background of recent – tragic – media attention relating to the terrible consequences of such an intergenerational relationship. Even worse is the concept of imagining the act of consummating such a marriage. But the doomed wedding night is the focus of 2012 Turkish film Lal Gece (directed by Reis Celik) is about.
A recently released ex-convict (Ilyas Salman) is forced by his omnipotent uncle to marry his very young bride (a vulnerable and childish Dilan Aksut). Over the course of one very long night – their wedding night – the bride and groom must meet for the first time and discover whether they have found their joy or their fears in each other. This film touches on very uncomfortable subject matter, which always scratches away at the back of the viewer’s consciousness. Nonetheless, it is impossible not to develop sympathy for the groom, who has spent his life being the lackey of older family members, and to wonder exactly how the marriage will begin. And, most importantly, whether the all-important bedsheets will be soiled by morning.
A beautiful, provocative, thought-provoking look at exactly how far individuals are prepared to go to follow cultural obligations and what permanent consequences this will have for the rest of their lives, Lal Gece is compulsive and poignant viewing that will make you feel even more grateful for the rights and freedoms Australians enjoy on a daily basis.
*Next screening Friday 27 September 2013 at 6.30pm*