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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Sivas

Showing on Wednesday, October 29, 6.45pm, Vox 6 and Saturday, November 1, 9pm, Vox 6.
A scene from the Turkish Film Sivas by Kaan Mujdeci, screening at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Film Festival. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Film Festival
A scene from the Turkish Film Sivas by Kaan Mujdeci, screening at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Film Festival. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Film Festival
At the heart of this debut film from Turkish director Kaan Mujdeci is a quite-brilliant performance from a child actor, Dogan Izci. He plays Aslan, an 11-year-old boy far from the cutesy stereotypes we’re usually force-fed by Hollywood. He is neither angel nor devil. Yep, children are complex too. All Aslan wants is to be cast opposite Ayse in the school theatrical adaptation of Snow White and Seven Dwarfs. Prone to tantrums, especially when he doesn’t get the part, he is far from likeable, and sympathy for him comes largely because his parents are neglectful. Aslan finds solace by taking in a near-dead dog and restoring him to fighting fitness. Intriguingly director Mujdeci doesn’t try to make easy or crass statements about the culture of fighting dogs, nor condemn the parents, instead he paints a portrait, visually rather beautifully, or a boy trying to make his way into manhood despite societal constraints and the harsh Anatolian landscape. *Kaleem Aftab

• Wednesday, October 29, 6.45pm, Vox 6; Saturday, November 1, 9pm, Vox 6