I saw “Something Useful” last night. It is a Turkish movie originally titled “İşe Yarar Bir Şey.” I found the movie very poetic not just because the main character was a poet but also because it was written and directed in a very gentle way.
Throughout the movie, you follow the story of Leyla (Başak Köklükaya), a lawyer and a poet in her forties as she takes a long-distance night train to attend her high school reunion dinner. She meets a young nurse, Canan (Öykü Karayel), on the train station. There is a mysterious situation surrounding the nurse and you get caught up with it immediately.
I sometimes find it hard to focus my attention on static movies and even stop watching. In Something Useful, I tuned in a certain emotion and it was very much reading a book or a poem. It kept me going. There is a stillness in the movie, yet you’re on the road, on that train with the main characters. It was the first contrast that captured my attention and what I thought of as interesting.
As the film advances Canan reveals her secret to Leyla, also to us that she is traveling to assist Yavuz, a paralyzed man from neck to tow who wants to end his own life. Leyla is curious and accompanies Canan to the apartment of Yavuz. Yavuz is lying back on a bed right next to a window and the window has a view of a vibrant area full of people. The second contrast comes into the picture here. It is also the core value of the movie.
Pelin Esmer, director of the feature, summaries the movie in an interview as a voyage between life and death. It is a perfect description of what is going on with the movie. The contrast and the bond between life and death are very well put together poetically. And the sensation you’re left with the movie haunts you for a while.