TURKISH-KURDISH CONFLICT IN
THE EYES OF A CHILD
Where do you find a colour that you’ve only heard of but never known or seen before?
This is the premise of the movie “Rauf”. Here the colour as a concept or rather the colour of pink stands to represent something larger than just a pursuit of a gift. A boy of 10, Rauf (Alen Hüseyin Gürsoy) goes into learning carpentry when his teacher hits him and expels him from school. He gradually then falls for the much older daughter of the carpenter and tries to win her affection. Rauf, entices the audiences with the sweet pursuit of a boy to win the affection of a lady. His journey in searching for the pink floral scarf is something the audiences will cheer him on. Yet, this is a movie just as it is focused on the pursuit of Rauf as it is on what goes around him.
Adorned with symbolism his pursuit of a pink scarf is the Baris Kaya and Soner Caner’s vision of how a child would perceive the Turkish-Kurdish conflict. What the movie succeeds in attaining is that it showcases the lasting and ongoing impact of the war, despite no direct references being made. Pink stands for something he cannot find in his surroundings. He has ever only heard that it exists and others describing it. But never seen for himself. Pink is a colour that represents hope, love, compassion and peace, and Rauf not being able to find the colour pink in his society symbolically suggests the lack of these emotions around him. It shows the audience the impact of the war isn’t just dead bodies and blood. War is something much larger and reaches into the very fabric of society.
The movie is rich in references to the conflict of the region, be that it maybe the rockets that goes up around him or him working for a man, who for a carpenter is mostly making coffins for soldiers died in the war.
Throughout the movie, audience almost never sees people of young ages and only those who are too old or too young like Rauf. It is never said outright why this is so but the audiences are slowly opened up to why this is. From an old woman waiting for his son to return, to a carpenter whose only questions when making coffins are about age and size of the dead, but not the cause of death.
Despite being the directorial debut of Baris Kaya and Soner Caner who had earlier collaborated on the war movie Breath, Rauf will easily be one their best works. From the subtle references throughout the movie and almost indirect yet very persuasive way of exposing the audiences to a conflict larger than life. The Cinematographer, Vedat Ozdemir’s camera work succeeds in capturing a landscape which is vivid and snowy and distant yet, it seems as if despite being so far away from war, the repercussions of war is very much present everywhere.
At the very end however, the music work used is out of character for the movie. While it finds success in guiding the audience towards a gloomy and wishful world throughout the movie without interruption, the finale music seems too intrusive as it cannons the audience from its attention just before they ease out of it.
With that said, Rauf is a movie that people who has followed the conflict would find highly engrossing, and others find moving. Although the symbolism and indirectness may be out of reach for certain masses the movie still holds its own as a culmination of excellent cinematography and directorial excellence.