The last day of the holiday. Tomorrow, sixteen-year-old Bora will return to the Netherlands with his father. One more day to enjoy the Turkish sun. To be with his cousins living in Turkey. To swoon away from all feminine beauty. Lively Middle Eastern music plays in the background. The color palette is warm, to the point of sultry. A last day of vacation that you hope will last forever. Life is Beautiful.
Still, some discomfort lurks around. The girl who has been staying in the hotel room next to his for years and who has secretly had a crush on him all this time, sees nothing more than a good friend in him. Her heart belongs to another. The fact that his cousins are successful with the opposite sex does not make him particularly happy. Being overweight does not make life any easier. The difficult relationship with his father, a mother figure is absent, completes the feeling of discomfort.
The entirely Turkish-spoken ‘Zomerbroeders’ shows in a well-thought-out way that Dutch film does not stop at national borders. Given the multicultural nature of the Netherlands, this is a good thing. In any case, film benefits from a certain limitlessness, because it opens our eyes to the strange, which in turn holds up a mirror to our own existence.
For example, the story of the Turkish Bora can feel strange at first glance. Until it turns out that, like any adolescent, he has to deal with feelings and fears. Infatuation, exclusion and pushy mature; it is of all times and all cultures. However, there is more to play in the background. Because the dreamy Bora finds it difficult to connect with his peers living in Turkey, he never feels completely at home. But going back to the gray Netherlands is not a smooth task either. Thus the good fat man ends up in a split between the land of his ancestors and his current homeland.
Bora falls between shore because he is a Dutchman in Turkish eyes from a Dutch perspective as a Turk is seen. Whether that is an objectionable conflict is irrelevant. What ‘Zomerbroeders’ does effectively is to make that inner collision tangible, with the result that understanding for Boras situation arises. Because without any understanding, any discussion about something like nationality is doomed in advance. Although the course in ‘Zomerbroeders’ does not make sense everywhere, the film manages to lay down an interesting thematic foundation in about forty minutes.
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