Runtime: 19 minutes
Director/Writer: Cansu Boguslu
Actors: Latvinya Ünlüer, Cansel Elcin, Özlem Conker
By Valerie Kalfrin
The short film “Down from the Clouds” opens with a sobering definition of love: “Giving someone the power to destroy you, and trusting them not to,” according to the title sequence.
Su (Lavinya Ünlüer, Kefaret), the young girl at the center of this story, is full of trust, telling her mother (Özlem Conker) that her father said he’d take her out for ice cream. Even when her dad, Baba (Cansel Elcin, Yasak Elma), returns drunk after dark, Su thinks ice cream is still on the menu. Her mom protests that it’s too late, but Baba sweeps Su into his arms and carries her off to the car.
From that moment, writer-director Cansu Boguslu generates suspense through viewers’ concern for Su amid her dad’s dodgy choices, such as letting her out on the roadside to use the bathroom. A cinematographer (Together, We Shall Die), Boguslu frames much of the dialogue between Su and Baba in close-ups and medium shots, showing the girl’s joy at his company and her steadfast faith in him, at least until they wind up at his favorite bar.
Ostensibly, Baba takes her there to clean her up after she falls in the mud on the roadside. But after exuberantly introducing her to his drinking buddies, he forgets about her, lost in another round and chats with the guys. Elcin, who won a jury prize at the French Riviera Film Festival for his performance, captures Baba’s mercurial temperament, his confidence in Su’s innocence.
Even so, there’s not a lot of subtext here. When Baba tries on mirrored sunglasses, musing about his youth and everything he thinks he’s given up, he’s ignorant about how hurtful he sounds.
For her part, Su seems to ignore that until she can’t anymore. Although “Down from the Clouds” ends on an ambiguous and unsatisfying note, it shows Su’s hope still intact—if not in her father, at least in the idea that she’ll be all right.