Can you remember your childhood summer days when you were simply longing for a swim?
Aydin Orak’s new coming-of-age drama Time of Impatience conveys this longing from the perspective of two Kurdish schoolboys in the relentless summer heat. Featured in the Glasgow Film Festival this year, the film glimpses into the lives of two brothers, Mirza and Mirhat (Mirza and Mirhat Zarg), who have set their minds on diving into the pool of a luxurious off-limits residential area. Watching it will resurface childhood nostalgia you didn’t remember you had, one recognisable across cultural barriers: the time between the end of the school-day, and going home, when you’re free to wander without obligations. The two brothers run around the city with their backpacks, playing, bickering and singing. Following the dialogue of Mirza and Mirhat is a pleasure, as the pair plots, jokes, debates and – last but not the least – tries to get to the bottom of Mirza’s telekinetic powers. Yet, the first and foremost yearning on their minds is for a swim in a cool, refreshing swimming pool.
A strong spirit of persistence and rebellion saturates the film as the brothers begin to grasp the injustice which allows only for the wealthy the relief of a pool on a hot day. They belligerently chant “I will swim in this pool” and return to rattle the gates of the luxury resort daily, and argue with a relentless but not unsympathetic security guard. The conclusion reached by the two boys is, “Why do the rich people swim in a real pool and we in a plastic one.” What makes this so striking is that it is not really a question, but rather a defiant expression of frustration and resistance. It exposes the unfairness of segregation, particularly as children are the first to suffer
from it. Pitting children from different residential areas against each other, this segregation has only negative consequences and culminates in disquieting moments of violence.
On the side, Orak explores the reality of poverty through portraying an underfunded and understaffed primary school. Mirza and Mirhat’s education is largely in the hands of a passionate but tired teacher (Pelin Batu). Working well beyond her hours and taking on the education of subjects she isn’t qualified in, she tries to steer her students on the right path through numerous life lessons. Set against the backdrop of the Kurdish struggle for independence, politically inspired slogans and graffiti embellish the walls and benches, symbolic of the resistance bubbling below the surface of the quiet city. In some ways, the two brothers’ fight for their right to swim in the luxurious pool serves as a metaphor for larger-scale political resistance – why should they resort to their plastic pool? Sweet yet sad, this coming-of-age story portrays the Kurdish struggle for independence through a playfully rebellious lens and certainly deserves a place on your watchlist.
[Kristiina Kangasluoma – she/her]
[Photo credit: Cineuropa]