Fest offers the best of the best from Turkey

By Rhonda Stewart
Boston Globe -- March 25, 2005

"The Road" is one of the 10 greatest Turkish films ever, according to a poll. All of them will be shown at the MFA.

She promised to come back but never did. Or maybe she was never really there in the first place. Lonely Zebercet can't stop thinking about the beautiful and mysterious woman who checked into his hotel. He becomes obsessed with waiting for her, turning away customers and shutting himself up in the place, which seems more like the Bates Motel as this chilling psychological thriller progresses.

''Motherland Hotel" is just one of the many gems worth seeing in this year's Boston Turkish Film Festival, which starts Friday at the Museum of Fine Arts. The program showcases the 10 best Turkish films of all time, according to a poll done by the Ankara Cinema Association. The diverse, highly appealing lineup offers social realism, comedy, and drama.

''It's approximately 40 years of Turkish cinema in one shot," says Erkut Gomulu, the festival's director and founder. ''It's a visual treat for film lovers."

The four-year-old festival presents classics such as ''Hope" and ''Dry Summer," previously screened films ''Distant" and ''Innocence," and a new film called ''What's a Human Anyway?" In this raucous comedy, a taxi driver claims to have lost his memory, but his family and friends are suspicious of his condition.

''The important thing is to get the attention of film critics in the US. We don't want to be limited to the ethnic audience," Gomulu says.

For more information on the festival, go to www.bostonturkishfilmfestival.org