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Ferzan Ozpetek-From "The turkish bath" to "Nuovo Olimpo"

Updated: Jan 20

I became aware of Ozpetek's work when I first watched "Steam:The Turkish Bath".

This 1997 film is a real masterpiece that takes the viewer through an atmospheric and nostalgic journey in the old neighborhoods of Instabul.

Francesco shares with his wife a successful and luxurious life in Rome as interior designers. When his aunt dies and he inherits an old building in Instambul, he finds a way to escape from a frustrating marriage and a job that doesn't seem to satisfy him anymore.

His first thought to sell the dilapitated building is quickly abandoned when he realizes that his inheritence is a traditional hamam which had thrived in the past. He decides to restore it with the help of the family who has been living there for the past years. During the process he finds himself enchanted not only by the place but also by Mehmet the son of the family and the two of them get into a passionate relationship.

The film has nothing to do with a homosexual love story. It's a deep study on life changing decisions and second chances but also on the importance of being able to realize and follow one's needs.Unfortunately, just the hint of homosexual content prevented the film from being nominated for the best foreign movie Oscar award, since the turkish government refused to submit it.

"Nuovo Olimpo" is what we call good old italian melodrama. Ozpetek directs once again with finesse and recreates exquisitely the '70s italian atmosphere. From the beginning to the end, the film gave the sense of a well orchestrated choreography where the actors intertwine in perfect synchronization.

"Nuovo Olimpo" is the name of a cinema which plays retro movies and it is also the meeting point for homosexual and bysexual men. This is where two 25 year old men meet and fall in love but a sudden event separates them. For the next thirty years they didn't forget their shared moments although one is married and the other in a relationship with another man. They seem to wait always for the moment that will bring them back together. The ending scene has the quality expected by Ozpetek, who never disapoints his audience.

The leading actors have a natural chemistry and manage to execute their intimate scenes without hesitation even the ones with full frontal nudity. Nothing provocative or shocking. On the contrary, a sweet and romantic love story with the atmosphere of the retro films showed in "Nuovo Olimpo".

I highly recomend both films for those who love good quality productions.

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