It's been a long time since I've seen a film from Turkey, even longer since I've written a review. Granted, I know nothing about modern Turkish cinema. I, of course, speak of the trash classics that put Turkish cinema on the cult film map. Films like Turkish Star Wars and Three Supermen are the kinds of international films that made me look into the deepest darkest depths of film history to find the classic gold I fucking adore. Reading this, it should come as no to surprise to you that I am a pretty big fan of the Eurospy comic and film anti-hero popular in the 60's know in Italy as Kriminal. More the film part of him than the comic since I have no access to Italian comics or can even speak the language. The Big Screen version of Europe's most famous fictional jewel thief and womanizer was first adapted by the one and only Umberto Lenzi, an Italian director I deeply admire. Other European nations, such as Sadistik and Diabolik, so it should come to no surprise that Turkey had their own version, known as Kilink.
I have known about the existence of Kilink Istanbul'da(1967) since I first became obsessed with the Kriminal character, so it was only a matter of time before I took the to sit back and watch the Turkish version. It took me a couple of years, but I finally got around to watching the first film yesterday. Being a veteran of the classic character, I thought I knew what I was getting into. But, as with most of the films from Turkey I've screened, I was given quite the surprise kick in the ass.
First of all, the character of Kilink is so different from his European counterpart, it's almost night and day. Whereas Kriminal is a suave, master-of-disguise with a James Bond likability, Kilink is more more of a ruthless, sociopathic megalomaniac bent on the destruction of the human race for vengeful purposes. I was completely baffled. There was nothing "antihero" about the Turkish version of Italy's sophisticated and romantic jewel thief. Kilink is just straight up "anti". This threw me for a whirl. How can the title character of the film be such a straight-up antagonist? I would have been a tad dismayed if it wasn't for the true hero of the movie, or should I say "Superhero". You see, unlike it's European counterparts, Turkish films sometimes throw in a twist that wouldn't not only wouldn't belong in the original, but are a straight up mindfuck to the foreign audience. In this case, the addition of "Superman", who happens to be a Turkish amalgamation of both DC Comic's Superman and Shazam, right down to the Muslim Merlin who praises Allah for the power he bestows on Orhan, our hero. As outlandish as this twist is compared to Kriminal and Danger, Diabolik, it worked and made my disappointment at how malevolent Kilink was disappear.
Kilink in Istanbul was a very short 70 minutes, and for good reason. Like the Batman and Flash Gordon serials from the earlier part of the 20th century, it was meant to be viewed more as a series, and less of a single movie. Because of this, you haven't heard the last word on Kilink from me. There is no way reviewing the one movie can actually do it justice. It's either all or nothing. Next time I'll spend some time on the actual plot, which is about a complex as popping a pimple. Even though the quality of the film was horrid and the subtitles were written like English-As-A-Third Language, I enjoyed this first of three and will be covering the second sometime next week.