image+nation culture queer

Love, Spells and All That en


Ümit Ünal | Turkey | 2019 | 96 min | TURKISH S.-T.EN.

Eren (played by Ece Didzer with the stiff grace of a ballerina) is drawn back to the gorgeous Turkish island where she grew up – and was exiled from – by a trove of discovered letters from her past with Reyhan (Selen Ucer). Or so she thinks.

Though not usually prone to superstition, Reyhan blames Eren’s attraction on a spell cast by an islander with “incredible powers”, and she will stop at nothing to reverse it so she can go back to her conventional life with her boyfriend, Gökhan (Uygar Özçelik). As the romantic prose of Reyhan’s letters is portioned out in voiceover and the two women argue through the streets of the hilly paradise, the full traumatic breadth of their past comes into focus. And under the watchful, unseen eye of Gökhan, a reconciliation seems both impossible and ready to blossom. Ümit Ünal takes a classic tale of “rich girl falls for poor girl” and injects it with crackling dialogue, two astonishing leads, and a riveting back story, weaving a film as spellbinding as its opening quote: “Two girls discover the secret of life in a sudden line of poetry.”