The Third Page (Üçüncü sayfa) (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Third Page (Üçüncü sayfa) (1999)

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In Ucuncu Sayfa (The Third Page), Turkish filmmaker Zeki Demirkubuz draws the portrait of a 'small man' in a society where the rule of the jungle applies. Isa (Ruhi Sari) lives in a run-down basement flat in the back streets of downtown Istanbul, picking up occasional small roles in TV series. He is a sucker for all those around him. While contemplating killing himself, he gets a sudden impulse to kill his landlord, which leads to his meeting with Meryem, a streetwise and unhappily married neighbor with two children. There seems to be a tender love developing between the two less privileged individuals, but the script, written by Demirkubuz, is too full of twists and turns to carry on as a run-of-the-mill love story. We find out that Meryem was the landlord's mistress, with the sanction of her husband. However, she is happy that he is dead because he was a brute. In fact, she was present when the killing took place. The trouble is: now she wants Isa to kill her husband. The film is a thriller with occasional black humor placed in the most appropriate moments; however, much of this humor is local language/culture oriented and therefore may be lost on audiences outside the territory. Unlike many Turkish films, the acting is subtle and natural and not theatrical. The names of the two major characters, Isa and Meryem, mean Christ and Mary. Ucuncu Sayfa competed at the 1999 Locarno International Film Festival. ~ Gönül Dönmez-Colin, Rovi

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