By the end of Cici, it didn’t feel like I learned anything about these characters or their traumas. It showed them existing in their respective bubbles but failed to convince me there was anything meaningful to their relationships.
October 2022 saw the release of the Netflix film Cici (2022) – this is our official spoiler-free review.
Cici is a dramatic offering from Turkey directed by Berkun Oya. Featuring known Turkish actors like Fatih Artman, Sevval Balkan, and Ayça Bingöl, the Netflix film is centered on one dysfunctional family and a tragedy that plagued their entire lives.
The first act of the movie is set in the 1970s on a Turkish farm where patriarch Bekir runs his family with an iron fist. His wife, Havva, hates him for cheating on her with the ladies of the night and for the harsh way he treats his children. Slapping his oldest son, Kadir is a regular occurrence. He refuses to let the kids go to school and his daughter, Saliha, sneaks out for romantic evenings with a boy working on the farm, Cemil. Yusuf is the youngest son and Bekir’s pride and joy. One day, after enacting a particularly cruel punishment on Kadir, the patriarch falls ill and the family is forced to relocate.
Decades after Bekir’s death, Kadir is now a filmmaker who is shooting a movie about his experiences as a boy at the old farm. But after struggling to complete the film, the now-middle-aged man moved back into his childhood home. Because of Covid, the whole family finds themselves living under the same roof again. Havva, now an old lady with dementia, has been discharged from her nursing home to the care of her daughter because of the pandemic. Saliha is divorced and has a teen daughter. The youngest child, Yusuf, is now married with one child but seems unhappy with his life.
Despite the fantastic performances, the main problem with Cici is how slow it is. The film is full of static shots, making it feel almost theatric. Because one of the characters is a filmmaker, scenes repeat themselves unnecessarily. The relationships between the siblings are never fully explored or explained, which leads to many unnecessary conversations. There’s a lot of dialog lacking any substance.
We never learn anything about Kadir’s film. Even when the characters are talking about it, they reduce his script to the one scene when his father punished him by spraying him with a hosepipe. And that wasn’t even the most abusive thing we see Bekir do on screen. Then there’s Cemil, the film spends a lot of time introducing this character and trying to create some sort of conflict between him and Kadir and some love story between him and Saliha. But ultimately, it leads to nowhere. Cemil’s main contribution to the storyline is randomly bursting into song at the most inappropriate of times.
The side characters introduced in the second half add very little to the narrative. Naz, Saliha’s daughter, is your typical edgy teen, and she comes across as annoying. Yusuf’s wife and son are so insignificant to the story, they might as well have been written off completely.
By the end of the Netflix film Cici I didn’t feel like I learned anything about these characters or their traumas. It showed them existing in their respective bubbles but failed to convince me there was anything meaningful to their relationships. They all had a rough childhood, yet they all claim the patriarch’s death somehow made things worse. But the film spent the first half hour of run time portraying Bekir as the abuser everyone was terrified of. The only compelling character with more than one side to them was Bekir himself, and he didn’t get enough screen time. There’s a twist yes, but the character’s reaction to it makes very little sense.
What did you think of the Netflix film Cici (2022)? Comment below.