Jolly Life (Neseli Hayat)
Release year: 2009
Director: Yilmaz Erdogan
Screenwriter: Yilmaz Erdogan
Starring: Yilmaz Erdogan, Büsra Pekin, Kadir Akgün, Caner Alkaya, Aksel Kamber, Tonguc Oksal, Gülhan Tekin, Sevket Süha Tezel
Riza (Erdogan) is a man caught between working class Turks and the Westernized upper class Turks. After finding himself in economical problems he accepts any job he can get, leading him to a job as Santa Claus in a shopping mall. Confused by Santa’s catchphrase (ho-ho used to be what you said to the goats in the village) an embarrased Riza hides his new job from his family while struggling with a law suit and a brother-in-law who has got himself in trouble with a girl.
Not a laugh-out-loud comedy at all, Erdogan’s (The Water Diviner, 2014) Christmas movie is one to find its subtle humour in the peculiarity of everyday life. Erdogan is splendid, making the lead a sad but sympathetic character you truly feel for as he stumbles through life with a pair of sad eyes. Life is hard for Riza and everything seems to go the wrong way, no matter how much he tries. But as in most Holiday movies, there is a lesson for Riza to learn. Served in a realistic tone, Neseli Hayat gives a rare insight into what appears to be the ‘real’ Turkey and shows a poor community with warmth and unity among friends. A bittersweet tale and a treat for anyone looking for a completely different Christmas movie.
This is the first Turkish Christmas movie ever made.
If you feel like watching something as rare as a Turkish Christmas movie, click the image below to purchase:
Picture copyrights: BKM