TIFF 2021: Our Review of ‘Anatolian Leopard’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, TIFF 2021 by - September 12, 2021
TIFF 2021: Our Review of ‘Anatolian Leopard’

Another critic has already written about the Shakespearian references in Anatolian Leopard, which makes sense because a mid-act slow burn tragedy in appropriate in a city like the film’s version of Ankara, sleepy, sparsely populated, textured buildings catching neon lights. The central figure in this tragedy is Firket (Ugur Polat). He manages a public zoo that’s on its way to foreign  privatization if it wasn’t for the titular leopard. The zoo’s transition from public to private property becomes more difficult as the leopard disappears.

The mystery within The Anatolian Leopard isn’t a mystery. It reveals the party responsible for the disappearance and what their motives are. So it’s more about when most of the characters will discover the bomb under the table. The person who may or may not care about that discovery is a prosecutor (Tansu Bicer) who tells a lot of stories. The film’s other literary references come through that prosecutor, who likes to tell a lot of stories that relate to Firket’s situation.

Perhaps those stories feel too on the nose, which is a flaw that most literary films have. And when characters don’t recited didactic monologues, they sometimes stay in frustrating silence. Firket occasionally does this with his assistant (Ipek Turktan). But then again what is film if it isn’t the examination of the human face? The faces here are either weathered on the outside or expressing internal worries. And this film follows these faces as they live everyday, as hard as that can be.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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