A somber and intimate exploration of a conflicted father-son relationship
‘The Festival of Troubadours’ is a sombre and intimate exploration of a conflicted father-son relationship that is premised on Kemal Varol’s novel with the same title. Since the duo has never really communicated for the past 25 years, it is a reach to even consider it a relationship. Heves Ali is a traveling musician who has been separated from his family for years. However, since his health is deteriorating, he visits his wife’s burial site, and to his child.
The fact that Yusuf, a successful attorney, hasn’t seen his father since the day after his mother’s funeral only adds to the difficulty of the situation. Heves knocks on Yusuf’s door and offers no explanation regarding his arrival other than the fact that he needs to get to Kars for the troubadour celebration. It doesn’t take long to realize that the old man’s health is deteriorating and that his sudden arrival is a sort of farewell.
When Yusuf learns that Heves is attending a music festival, he decides to join. Old emotions resurface further along the journey as the father and son accept and adapt to the time they weren’t able to spend together.
The Festival of Troubadours is an emotional trip that unfolds like a novel. The movie intricately portrays the multifaceted father-son relationship in an incredibly realistic and authentic manner. Despite having a deep understanding of its characters, there are instances when the movie starts to feel static, given its slow pacing, but also because it has a non-linear narration.
The storyline’s central themes include strained parent-child relationships, despair, unresolved guilt, and remorse. The storyline follows Heves Ali who is driven cross-country for hours by his reserved son Yusuf. Years’ worth of unreleased rage, frustration, and grief explode into a huge mess during the journey as Yusuf needs explanations from his absent dad.
The Festival of Troubadours is most compelling when there is a long pause, since silence speaks louder than any words. The unsettling silence, as opposed to adequate dialogues, is what beautifully addresses the fundamental themes. To the dismay of the son, the father leaves a lot of their conversations unanswered.
It’s worth paying attention to the two protagonists’ subtle nonverbal cues and the transitions in such brief interactions. There’s no escaping the awkwardness of having very little left to say, especially given how far they’ve travelled. The expansive views of the Turkish countryside only serve to emphasize the narrative’s tone and tenor through the sound design.
Similar to how the silence represents a central focus in The Festival of Troubadours, so does the music. It can convey a lot more concerning the dilemma between the duo than meagre dialogue could because of its soulful, moving, and melodic lyrics that invoke love, loss, and a sense of grief.
The movie’s best qualities seem to be the cinematography, breathtaking views, and Turkish traditional music gatherings, which boast a good deal of emotional complexity and make a significant contribution to the movie’s genuine aesthetic.
The movie’s climax rapidly traps the viewers into a philosophical debate about who is guilty and who is innocent, which would be challenging to separate, and indeed the movie doesn’t attempt to clarify those queries, which have been left for the viewers to interpret.
The characters in the movie have ample time in the story to communicate and express themselves. Yusuf is a person withdrawing because the loss has affected him so deeply that he is unsure what he should do when his circumstances change. Tatlitug delicately embraces that vulnerability as we watch a person gradually lose himself over time. Tanriogen does an outstanding job as Yusuf’s father too. His worn, weary face conceals a lifelong burden of regret and a damaged stubbornness that further transcends his silence.
This Turkish drama has a compelling, character-driven storyline that is made complete by its countless moments of silence and melodic footnotes. The two characters are well written but sadly, doesn’t offer a resolution, preferring to leave things unresolved But there’s no doubting that this is a sincere film.
Unnecessarily stretched but fascinating all the same, The Festival of Troubadours is worth a watch, although it’s not enthusiastically suggested. As the movie is so passive and slow, this certainly won’t be for everyone.
Read More: The Festival of Troubadours Ending Explained
Verdict - 7/10