x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

10 to 11

The Istanbul-set 10 to 11 is a slow-paced tale of an unlikely friendship.

This slow burning tale of an unlikely friendship between two men in a dilapidated Istanbul apartment building is a lesson in how less can often be more in storytelling. On the surface, this seems like a small story. Mithat (Mithat Esmer) is one of life's great hoarders. He spends much of his time adding to his collections. The building that he has been living in for many years has been deemed unsafe from earthquakes, and he faces eviction. But he refuses to leave. His only companion in the building is the concierge, Ali (Nejat Isler), whose young daughter contracted asthma because of the apartment's poor condition. Ali has sent his daughter and wife back to the village until the building is fixed. Because Ali needs the building to be repaired in order to see his family again, there could easily have been an element of Steptoe and Son in the relationship between the men. Instead, the first-time feature filmmaker Pelin Esmer has made a humanist tale of friendship against the odds. The film touches upon familiar metropolis topics: gerontocracy, government bureaucracy and the worry that life is ultimately meaningless. Among other things, Mithat hoards a huge collection of newspapers, and his love affair with life and stories seems quirky and at times disturbed. Like Cristi Puiu's The Death of Mr Lazarescu (2006), 10 to 11 is an at times funny condemnation of materialism and selfishness in the modern world that rewards those who don't mind the melancholic pace of the film.

10 to 11 shows at 3.45pm today at Cinestar 4, Marina Mall.