Ferenc Török’s Isztambul details the story of a man who leaves his middle-aged wife after thirty years of marriage. Katalin’s crisis is received with indifference by friends and family alike. Her environment considers her mentally ill and she is taken to a hospital where she is sedated. Her husband and daughter both think she is feigning this temporary hysterical condition and she soon becomes a burden to them which makes them feel rather ashamed. Katalin runs away from the hospital and, making a spur of the moment decision, heads for Istanbul. Her teenage son – ever the rebellious hero, angry at his father and sister – follows his fleeing mother.

In Isztambul, Katalin’s destiny crosses paths with that of a lonely Muslim man. Newfound love liberates the woman’s emotions and she blooms, if only ephemerally; her son’s unexpected appearance stirs her temper, seething below the surface. In the disconcerted situation mother does not recognise son, as if attempting to eradicate her previous life completely.

Can an individual make independent decisions despite family binds? Does anyone have the right to fulfill one’s ego at the expense of others? Török has created a masterful journey into the travails of emotional illness, dysfunctional families and the role of older women in modern society.

Colm McAuliffe,
Jameson Dublin International Film Festival

Ferenc Török will attend the screening