Cannes 2016 – Critics Week
Cannes 2016 – Winner – Visionary Award
A childless couple prepares a photo album of a fake pregnancy period – at the beach, at work, lounging at home. This way, their adopted child will eventually be able to recognize them as loving biological parents. And of course, they’ll have real documentation to share with friends and co-workers.
Bahar and Cuneyt are an average middle-class couple with beliefs, dreams and preoccupations of their provincial urban environment. A child would complete their perfect lifestyle image, but adoption can be a long bureaucratic process, especially for picky parents. However, persistence and the right connections pay off. The proud couple goes all the way with the family history façade by staging snapshots in the hospital with their adopted baby boy.
The earnest couple’s next step is to start a new life with their new baby. History teacher Cuneyt’s requested reassignment to a faraway city comes in quickly with his bureaucratic influence. But the couple panics when they discover that the adoption has been recorded in police records, only one step away from public knowledge…
A satirical first feature from a new voice in Turkish cinema.
Impressively composed comedy of forged family history... For the gormlessly duplicitous protagonists of “Album,” family snaps serve to construct memories rather than preserve them... substantial debut feature can’t suppress a sneer at the very 21st-century practice of exhaustive yet evasively filtered self-documentation. That’s hardly the only modern malady under fire in this elegantly opaque social satire, which touches on bureaucratic ineptitude, class conflict and very questionable parenting in its elliptical tale of a dully respectable couple taking elaborate measures to conceal their adopted child’s provenance... Merto?lu walks an often surprisingly fine line between bitter realism and deadpan absurdism... calmly tragic, unsmilingly funny film captures human nature harshly enough to render such symbolism extraneous.
— Guy Lodge, VARIETY
Diligently stylized debut feature... Mertoglu frequently uses deep staging and square framing that tend to keep the couple, and the friends and cops they encounter, at a certain comic, even cartoonish distance; sharply defined sound pops out of the screen whenever they laugh or bicker or slurp up food...
— Nicolas Rapold, FILM COMMENT