Kuma, which means “second wife” in Turkish, is a stunning debut by Umut Dag. Ayse (Begum Akkaya), a 19-year old Turk, coerced into a ‘sham’ wedding moves to Vienna to become the second wife to Mustafa (Vedat Erincin). Surprisingly, we learn the fake marriage between Ayse and Mustafa’s son, Hasan (Murathan Muslu), was set up by Mustafa’s first wife, Fatma (Nihal Koldas). Yes, it’s all very complicated and what I’ve told you is the tip of the iceberg really. Kuma is a complex and compelling watch.
Umut Dag, a student of Vienna Film Academy, has produced a piece of work well beyond his years. Kuma’s subtle and nuanced plot slowly builds to a crescendo and leaves everybody broken. It is well-thought out film, and it’s stylish too. The film is punctuated with delicious fades to black and the camera movement to reveal the film’s title in the Turkish mountains is spectacular.
Dag, imitates Haneke’s Amour, in the way he sets most of the drama inside the family’s apartment. Kuma is suffocating and claustrophobic at times, but it needs to be watched.