By Don Simpson | January 30, 2015
Directors: Nisan Dağ, Esra Saydam
Writer: Esra Saydam
Starring: Damla Sönmez, Jacob Fishel, Ahmet Rifat Sungar, Ayca Yagcioglu, Stuart Zagnit, Sanem Öge, Elif Ürse, Hakan Karsak, Mert Bulgan, Sinan Eczacibasi, Ozum Ersoy
Damla (Damla Sönmez) is a Turkish immigrant who lives in New York City with her husband, Kevin (Jacob Fishel). Unconvinced that Damla does not want to see her family’s vacation home before it is sold, Kevin pressures Damla into making her first trip home since she left Turkey to go to school in the United States several years ago. What Kevin does not realize is that Damla’s hesitancy is due to haunting memories of her first (true) love and Damla’s pregnancy seems to have exacerbated the stress of her return.
Against the idyllic, sun-drenched backdrop of the Turkish coast, co-directors Nisan Dağ and Esra Saydam present us with an intensely emotional narrative that reveals just how harrowing it can be to confront the past. Damla has made some very difficult decisions, all of which were made in favor of the safety and security of a better life. Being forcibly reimmersed into the life she abandoned, Damla must reevaluate the choices that she has made.
Across the Sea luxuriates in the sublime mellowness of vacations on the Turkish coast. Soaking in the sun’s rays and filled with copious amounts of food and alcohol, the protagonists — and their narrative — move at a snail’s pace. Only the male machismo can raise the film’s pulse, if only for a fleeting moment, playing out less melodramatically than one would expect considering the circumstances.