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Review: Wrong Rosary – Distant Possibility (2009)

Director: Mahmut Fazil Coskun | 90 minutes | drama | Actors: Rahman Altin, Nadir Saribacak, Ersan Unsal,

Istanbul has been a multicultural, multireligious city since time immemorial. The Turkish city bisected by the Bosphorus is seen as the intersection of and Eastern cultures. This fact is regularly used by filmmakers to make films with a multicultural focus. One of these films is “Wrong Rosary” by debuting Turkish director Mahmut Fazil Coskun.

“Wrong Rosary” tells the story of the upcoming muezzin Musa (Nadir Saribacak) who sets foot in Istanbul for the first time (a muezzin in Islam is the one who calls for prayer). Musa is assigned a flat and in the hall of the apartment building soon meets his neighbor Clara (Görkem Yeltan) for whom he develops warm feelings. It is an impossible love, however, because Clare is a sister in the Catholic monastery nearby. “Wrong Rosary” is told at a pleasant, slow pace and there is little dialogue. Coskun therefore knows how to tell his story almost entirely with images.

With the film, the director paints an intriguing picture of Istanbul, where different cultures coexist peacefully. However, “Wrong Rosary” shows that these cultures do live in completely separate worlds. Musa has hardly any idea what a church looks like on the inside. Coskun beautifully portrays this when Musa goes to church to return Clara’s rosary, which she had lost earlier in the day. You see Musa’s inquisitive look as he enters the Christian house of prayer. However, Coskun also cleverly emphasizes the similarities between the different religions. After Clara loses her rosary in the hall of the apartment, Musa puts it with her with the intention of returning the prayer beads to her later. Because of this, however, he makes the mistake of taking the wrong prayer cord in the mosque. He does not notice this until he is pointed out by someone else.

In 2009, “Wrong Rosary” won a Tiger Award at the International Festival Rotterdam. The film with its beautiful images of Istanbul is able to make you think about a fascinating society with a simple fact. Wrong Rosary is the first film from director Mahmut Fazil Coskun. So hopefully we can expect a lot from him in the future.

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