SFiFF57: The Blue Wave by Zeynep Dadak & Merve Kayan

This film is the anti-Mean Girls: in a media landscape saturated with films and TV shows about women and girls fighting it out for men and prestige, Blue Wave is refreshing in its attitude.

Whether they deliberately intended to or not, filmmakers Zeynep Dadak and Merve Kayan have created a film which is feminist in its representation of young women—that is, non-judgmental, straightforward, and sincere. It is partly that it is filmed unobtrusively; the camera observes patiently as Deniz and her high-school age girlfriends steer themselves through the mazes of love, school, university, family, and each other. Incidents and emotions unfold without over-dramatization. There are beautiful sequences where we can observe the girls’ body language around each other, a mix of affection, familiarity, negotiation, and observance—girl power at its simplest. The girls are neither objectified nor sanctified. The simple but multi-layered storyline, which includes personal as well as political layers, is also sincere in its assertion that life is composed of discrete incidences and swells of emotions which, in its aggregate, give cause for reflection. And adolescence, while full of questions, misalliances, mis-communication, and a healthy dose of music and sex, is neither glamorous nor sordid —it just is. A stellar cast of young women, including Ayris Alptekin (Deniz), Nazli Bulum (Gul), and the very funny Albina Özden (Esra), with their different shades of beauty and honesty, further gives the film both truth and light.

Now playing at the San Francisco International Film Festival, which runs through 8 May 2014.

The Blue Wave (Mavi Dalga), dir. Zeynep Dadak and Merve Kayan, 97 min. Riva Film, Bulut Films, et al, 2013. In Turkish.