Directed by Setenay Uruc | Reviewed by Samiksha Periwal
‘The Voice of the Past’ is a unique compilation of two parallel stories, similar in nature and themes, occurring in two absolutely different timelines. This short film compares and contrasts Gilgamesh, a legendary figure from the Epic of Gilgamesh and a young, modern woman named Sinemis. The loss of a loved one puts you in a difficult position irrespective of the time frame, these two characters are depicted coming together at an unusual circumstance in life meeting at crossroads through which they attempt to determine the final outcome of the difficult situation they have to face. Sinemis, our protagonist is shown to have a fully prosperous life with a loving family, successful career and happy life. However, one day, she loses all of her loved ones in a terrible car accident, which destroys the happiness in her life and shatters her heart to pieces. From this point on, the narrative takes an unexpected turn as Sinemis struggles to deal with her current circumstances, encounters strangers, having weird conversations with them, and eventually comes to terms with the experience.
The Epic of Gilgamesh dates back to 2000-4000 BC, considered to be the first written text. Gilgamesh, the main character supposedly grieved deeply post the loss of his closest friend Enkidu. This historical context has been placed in the present-day story of Sinemis, who has an interest in ancient scriptures and art as she has almost grown up in a museum owned by her uncle. Her professional works also deals with this text as through her research she finds out that the epic is largely linked with the Turkish. The similarities in terms of culture and loss of a loved one make her story related to the ancient tale. The meeting of Gilgamesh in a modern form and Sinemis is a major highlight of the film.
This short film contains suspense, drama, emotions and thrill as the characters are shown to interact crossing the dimensions of time and space. An unsettling tone in the facial expressions of the protagonist talks about how her coping mechanisms to deal with her loss have not been very healthy. The film’s non-linear storytelling method, which depicts different timelines through diverse settings and costumes, gives off an air of rustic intensity. These characteristics contribute to the accuracy and atmosphere of the film. The themes of grief and pain in the times of a loss are central to the story. These themes are somewhat manifested in each one of our lives which make us connect better with the protagonist. As an audience you can actually feel the pain Sinemis goes through as the event is dark yet realistic and morose.
This film leans more towards a fiction genre with real-life characters. However, there is a twist in the end which can leave you in a mind-boggling situation. The climax of the story is definitely one of the highlights as it opens the film to a whole different dimension. An interesting factor is that the director and lead actor in the film, Setenay Uruc has worked dedicatedly to revive the authenticity of an ancient story which interacts with a modern life situation. Her acting and directing skills are praiseworthy as she strives to capture small details throughout the narrative to form a sequence of unsettling events that eventually lead us to the ‘truth’ in the film.
As a whole, this film is an interesting watch which I would recommend for an audience that prefers historical and suspense movies. The storyline although a little haywire does convey the central idea of the film pretty well and keeps you engaged throughout. An inquisitive mind would also be curios to read up more on the Epic of Gilgamesh and how it has been aptly linked to the Turkish civilization dated centuries ago. The aesthetics act as brownie points and definitely set the mood for our viewers looking out for what we can call a ‘visual delight!’.
Samiksha Periwal is an 20 year old student from Kolkata, West Bengal. She is an enthusiast, eager to learn and explore. She has done her schooling from Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, Kolkata and is currently a student of Christ University, Bangalore pursuing a triple major in BA Psychology, Sociology and English. She is a passionate writer and has won many laurels for her school through the years.