The Storm (2008)

Run Time - 156 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Political upheaval on Turkish college campuses in the 1990's sets the stage for this drama from writer and director Kazim Oz. Cemal (Cahit Gok) is a bright young man who leaves the small town where he was born and raised to attend a university in Istanbul. Cemal is dazzled by the big city and quickly takes to life on campus, where he's exposed to a variety of new ideas. Cemal makes friends with Orhan (Selim Akgul), who is part of a student group campaigning for the rights of Kurds, and while Cemal is largely apolitical, he falls in with Orhan and his comrades, including idealistic Helin (Asiye Dincsoy) and attractive Rojda (Havin Funda Sac). Given that Turkey is ruled by a strongly right-wing administration, the student activists are embracing a position that's more dangerous than they imagine, though some are more interested in the trappings of political revolt than the realities, and Cemal goes through the motions while showing little genuine commitment to the cause. However, this distinction becomes moot when Cemal joins his friends for a demonstration that becomes violent and he's arrested by police who brutally interrogate him, hoping to learn more about the Kurdish rebels. Firtina (aka Bahoz and The Storm) was an official selection at the 2008 Istanbul Film Festival.