A journey of love in the face of hardship
Heartsong takes you on a journey of romance, community and love in the face of hardship. While this may sound like a number of other movies, Heartsong surprises you in a unique way. If you like unpredictable tales with eccentric characters and a story full of heart, this one’s for you.
The movie follows the story of Piroz, who is from the nomadic community of musicians known as the Dom. He and his brother are hired to play music at a wedding, where Piroz inevitably falls in love with the bride, Sümbül, and she with him. As the wedding implodes for reasons of its own, Piroz then sets out to be with the love of his life.
This is one of those movies that ends up on all the ‘Offbeat Movies To Watch’ lists. It’s definitely not your ordinary tale, despite its similarities to Romeo and Juliet. The leading man and lady are oddballs themselves but in a pure and innocent way. You are charmed with them immediately.
The film offers a range of characters, each one with eccentricities of their own and all of the actors do a marvelous job in portraying them. A special shout out to Bülent Emin Yarar who plays Piroz’s father, Mirze. Mirze’s story of trying to meet his true love after the death of his wife is almost as compelling as that of his son. Interestingly, the two tales form two sides of the same coin.
This story of star-crossed lovers is more poetic than logical, instilling a mood of lightness throughout the film. Through the lens of an ethereal romance and a splash of dark comedy, the film throws light on several real-world issues. We get a look at a range of marriages and various dynamics between husband and wife. We see how women are forced to adhere to norms of virginity and forced into marriages. The movie doesn’t dive too deep into these themes, but Sümbül’s journey itself is a race towards freedom from society’s constraints.
A special shout-out to the depiction of the Dom community too, who feel like one big extended family. Their wholesome bickering and chaos, amidst the vibrant but ramshackle housing, paint a clear picture of their lifestyle.
Heartsong’s technical elements certainly deserve high praise. Every aspect — from the lilting camera movements and warm colour palette to the whimsical Turkish folk music — creates a treat for the senses. The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous. The camera is not just an impartial observer here, with each shot used to add a layer of storytelling or to give further insight into the community and various relationships.
Close-up shots of faces make the screen fill up with emotion while the soft camera movements make the viewer feel embedded in the movie’s present. Shots of Sumbul dancing in the sunlight or those of Turkey’s landscape will also take your breath away.
Music comes alive in this movie. Clear from the title itself, music is a character of its own right. It highlights the irony in certain scenes while swelling with emotion in others. It dances along with the characters’ joy and slows down to single-instrument melodies for moments of melancholy. In fact, for the people of the Dom community, music is not only a form of art but also a means of communication.
The mesmerizing cinematography, Piroz’s father’s simple but poignant love poems, the harmonious music, the themes of love and hope — everything comes together to lend this movie a touch of magic. A magic that draws the viewer in, inviting them to indulge. This ethereal atmosphere blends with the more realistic elements to offer a film that is truly enjoyable to watch.
Verdict - 8/10