The story of a city slicker forced to relocate to the provinces has been retold in many different countries. Yozgat Blues discovers a tasty variation on this well-worn theme. Yuvaz (Ercan Kesal – Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, JDIFF 2012) is a music teacher in Istanbul who also performs occasionally as a musician. When a performing gig is offered to him in the middle of the country, he decides to seize the opportunity, even though he is reluctant to trade the big city for life in a more remote outpost.

Although Yuvaz is the protagonist, the film turns out to be a group portrait of half a dozen people whose lives intersect with his. Nese (Ayça Damgaci), his singing partner, develops an attachment to Sabri (Tansu Biçer), the barber who helps the balding Yuvaz with the toupee he wears while performing. The characters and relationships are incisively drawn, and the film’s deadpan sense of humour tickles. Kesal gives a sympathetic performance as Yuvaz, and Bicer is equally engaging as the sheltered barber. Yozgat Blues succeeds in capturing a bittersweet mood that will haunt viewers.

Stephen Farber
The Hollywood Reporter

Winner, FIPRESCI Award for Best Eastern European Debut, Warsaw Film Festival