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The Independent Critic

Mehmet Fatih Güven, Goknur Danishik, and Elif Barut
Tofiq Rzayev
Tofiq Rzayev, Mehmet Fatih Güven
15 Mins.

 "In a Time for Sleep" the Latest Short from Tofiq Rzayev 
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Co-writer and director Tofiq Rzayev has crafted a surprisingly feminist story in his latest short film, In a Time for Sleep, a 15-minute film centering around Leyla (Goknur Danishik), a young woman celebrating her one-month anniversary with Arda (Mehmet Fatih Güven). Despite Arda's insistence that she leave one morning, Leyla decides to stay and prepare a celebratory meal for the two to mark the one-month anniversary. Much to her dismay, Arda is displeased and downright hostile about her continued presence and before long the disagreement turns into a full-blown argument that doesn't end well for Arda. When an unexpected woman (Elif Barut) shows up and the film plays out in a way that feels genuine and emotionally honest.

The film, shot with Turkish dialogue and English subtitles, is another sign of growth for Rzayev, a filmmaker from Azerbaijan who becomes more and more impressive with each subsequent film. Of course, it also helps to have a top notch cast as is the case with the film here. Mehmet Fatih Güven, who also co-wrote the script, is appropriately narcissistic and smarmy as Arda, while Danishik is mesmerizing as Leyla, a woman whose experience here leads her to a new sense of freedom. Barut rounds out the solid cast with a performance that is bold and self-assured.

Rzayev's lensing is rich and humane, while the original score from Gergo Elekes companions the film to perfect along with original songs by Serif Ahmet Ege.

This may very well be Rzayev's most patiently shot film to date. In a Time for Sleep starts off in a rather rapid fashion, both in terms of its scene and the emotional force, but as it winds down one can easily sense the characters growing comfort with who they are leading to a gentler, quieter pace that fits the film's resolution quite nicely.

Currently on the film festival circuit, In a Time for Sleep is definitely a film to catch if you get the chance.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic