From the slums of Istanbul, a new Turkish melodrama emerges, bearing deep within its narrative the silenced stories of forsaken children everywhere.
Paper Lives, originally known as Kağıttan Hayatlar, is unlike any film I have recently seen. Its multilayered storyline, bursting with unintended, and direct, metaphors on child abandonment and its consequences, will turn your world upside down. Although the pacing could have been handled slightly better, the film’s intense and gripping narrative is not for the faint of heart. Over the course of 95 minutes, the film transcended from a formulaic melodrama into a socio-political statement which manifests so much authenticity and heartache.
The film’s focal points, its characters, are a work of wonder. Written with the sole purpose of emotional extortion and manipulation, each persona will surely leave its mark. They are, after all, a harmonious blend of misfortune and misery and realism. Paper lives gain a whole new morbid dimension once you learn that its characters are not far fetched from reality. If you look close enough, you will find them all around you, passively cruising through life.
Çağatay Ulusoy and Emir Ali Dogrul as Paper Lives’ main leads were simply spellbinding. Their interdependent energy and vulnerability were influential and emotional. The literal embodiment of their characters, with its parallels and distinctions, was impeccable.
Paper Lives is a really simple film when it comes to the storytelling techniques used or its overall cinematography. But its ginormous heart and audacious essence will captivate the viewers and expose them to a new world of unfiltered sorrow and agony.