My Only Sunshine (2008)

Genres - Drama  |   Run Time - 121 min.  |   Countries - Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Mark Deming

Reha Erdem wrote and directed this edgy drama of a teenager struggling to make sense of a life dominated by an absence of compassion. Hayat (Elit Iscan) is a fourteen-year-old girl living in a town on the Turkish coast. Hayat's parents are divorced; her mother (Banu Fotocan) rarely sees her and is occupied with her new family, while her ne'er-do-well father (Erdal Besikcioglu) makes his living catching fish, smuggling merchandise on the ships that service the harbor, and looking after a handful of prostitutes. Hayat's paternal grandfather (Levend Yilmaz) lives with her and is in failing health, and even though Hayat is pretty, she's looked down upon by her classmates, and has few friends other than Kamile (Handan Karaadam), who lives nearby. Hayat has also become a target for sexual predators, and the grim circumstances of her life has had its impact on her -- she rarely talks, communicating with others by humming, and takes out her frustrations on the birds in her neighborhood. Hayat Var (aka My Only Sunshine) was an official selection at the 2009 BFI London Film Festival.