'MY LAST CONCERT'
- Directed by Selcuk Cara -
Every action has consequences, big or small. Decisions that are taken in an instant have the potential of changing one’s life forever, giving birth to ‘what-if’ scenarios which torment the mind and keep it in a constant unhealthy link with the past. ‘My Last Concert’ showcases such a case: the mind of a now old woman is can’t seem to let go of the guilt and regret that has burdened and tormented her for most of her life- being unable to save the life of a young Jewish girl when a Nazi convoy passes by their neighbourhood.
Director Selcuk Cara does a masterful job of translating an otherwise simple premises into an almost lyrically-toned work of art. A particularly striking characteristic in setting the tone is the overall minimality: the black and white style, scarcely utilized music and sound effects, and very little movement of the characters. This series of static elements are perfectly interwoven and create a very pressing atmosphere of suspense.
A few gentle notes played on a violin accompany key moments, in-between not much can be heard- the ticking of a clock, the buzzing of a fly. These are not only there for stylistic value, but also as a recurring theme throughout the film’s frequent jumps back and forth, as a metaphor: the clock symbolizes the passing of time, whereas the trapped fly alludes both to the instance of the people inside the house when the SS officer comes by, but also on another plain, the now old woman’s psyche, and the guilt that is trapped inside.
‘My Last Concert’s’ cinematography and editing are equally powerful: the close-ups, the static frames, the imminence of an oncoming train, or the shots from the inside of the house, showing a forlorn old woman visiting the scene of her haunting experience, time and time again- perhaps physically, or perhaps simply in her mind. All of these elements create a really poetic and memorable flavour that resonates with the Yiddish proverbs and sayings contained in her opening monologue. These, combined with the suggestive imagery utilized, are equally successful in setting the tone of the story. The fade to black at the end is accompanied my music, and stays this way for a minute or so before the credits start rolling- offering an opportunity for quiet contemplation.
All in all, ‘My Last Concert’ is a masterpiece, and without doubt one of the best entries at our festival in recent months. While the content of the story might not be overly original, the delivery of this is sincere, heartbreaking and thoughtful. Its capability to transmit messages of such a beautiful simplicity, that stay with us for a long time after the film has ended, is one of the reasons why we still love cinema.