The Turkish Passion | Chicago Reader

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Spanish director Vicente Aranda mixes travelogue with pop psychology in this tony, erotic 1994 melodrama about a Spanish housewife who becomes sexually obsessed with a working-class Turk while touring Istanbul. The lovers? trysts are photographed in salacious detail, and Jose Luis Alcaine's gorgeous 'Scope compositions convey the exotic sensuality of Turkey while managing to make Madrid look cold and sterile. Beyond that, however, Aranda fails to explain the woman?s gradual self-debasement—from the liberation of her id in a foreign culture (shades of The Sheltering Sky) to her repudiation of bourgeois respectability (Belle de jour) to her lust for subjugation (9 1/2 Weeks) to her final act of possessiveness (In the Realm of the Senses). Ana Belen's superficial performance in the lead role further diminishes this soft-porn treatment of inexplicable impulses.

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