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The Independent Critic

Günalp Koçak, Jessica Jay, Diana Golovko, Stanley Warbrick
Günalp Koçak
14 Mins.

 "Orhan" an Effective, Character-Driven Short Film 

I suppose I could say that writer/director Günalp Koçak's short film Orhan is a simple film, though its title character, played by Koçak, is far from a simple man. Utilizing simple dialogue and fairly fundamental set-ups, the film tells the story of Orhan, a man who receives an unexpected phone call from his ex-girlfriend's sister (Jessica Jay) informing him that said ex, Gemma (Diana Golovko), is seriously ill and, perhaps more surprisingly, he has a son (Stanley Warbrick). Forced to honor his obligation to look after his son, he takes a job as a cleaner for the sadistic James (Oliver Hall), a job that doesn't go particularly well and pushes him to his limits. 

Orhan is a nicely acted ensemble piece, though it's clearly centered around Günalp Koçak's leading turn as a man whose slow-building tension is palpable and compelling. He's tasked with using his minimalist dialogue to create involving connections with the other characters and does so in quite the convincing fashion. The film has experienced quite a bit of success on the indie fest circuit with screenings ranging from the London Turkish Film Festival to the Ramsgate International Film and TV Festival to the Portobello Film Festival and a host of others. 

Orhan is a dark film that carries an aura of melancholy in nearly every minute of its just over 14-minute running time. The film's original music, courtesy of Thom Thomas-Watkins, is sparse yet effective while Michael Spry's lensing is particularly effective in building the film's atmosphere. 

While it is fair to say that Orhan's script is simple, the truth is that it's what it needs to be. Too many writers try to stretch things out or build up histrionic emotions. This is not the case in Orhan, a film that builds nicely without ever feeling too rushed or, for that matter, too slow. The film is such that it stands easily as a solo short film, though one could fairly easily see an expansion of Orhan into a longer short film or even a feature-length film. 

For more information on the film, be sure to visit the official Orhan Facebook page linked to in the credits and watch for it at a festival near you.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic