Short Film Review “Leftovers”



First, the Recap:

Atrocity. Violation. Inhumanity. Words never associated with anything well-intentioned. If confronted with any situation which would involve said terminology, it would make most people cringe back, not wanting to bear witness or hear orated a single detail correlated with it. Under cold and rainy skies, a police vehicle makes its way up the rocky expanse of the Turkish mountains via a rough-hewn dirt road. Within the car, the two officers (Ismail Mermer & Erhan Sancar), quietly stare ahead, even as their radio crackles to life with the strained voice of their Commissioner (Zahit Battal Sari) in an ultimately vain attempt to contact them.

Unexpectedly, their backseat passenger (Gokberk Kozan) begins to come uneasily to more animated life, immediately requesting the car pull over, dashing out just in time, violently ill. At first only reacting with vague disinterest, the two officers soon exit the car, one answering a phone call, the other offering minor “comfort” to the distressed man. As their occupant continues to be sick, one officer begins to stress the need for him to compose himself so that they may venture to their final destination–to ID the body of a dead girl. But, as the officers insist on their departure, the man becomes agitated and details about the girl in question take them all down a trail of dark thoughts and unfathomable savagery.

Next, my Mind:

Maintaining his “man of many parts” manner, prolific Azerbaijanian indie short film director/co-writer/producer/cinematographer/editor Tofiq Rzayev more than effectively sustains his ever-expanding campaign on the filmmaking world via this newest 13-minute effort that showcases the young artist’s increasingly progressive approach, thematic stylings, and quality of end product to excellent degree. Here, we as the viewer are given a scenario only fleshed out to a certain, not totally complete, extent, and intentionally so, as it subsequently causes you to allow your mind to run freely through the more harsh and unsettling aspects of the story delivered. We know what’s occurred, yet we never see it, but are only privy to the aftermath and the affect it has on the man and his overtly distraught state of being and desperation for justice. This is a gripping, heart-pounding, intensely eerie narrative presented on a whole different plane of execution.

As such, the performances given are decidedly understated by the three primary actors, Mermer, Sancar, and Kozan, but again folks, do not mistake this for shoddy portrayal of their given roles. Rather, it is a credit to all three that they are successful in enacting the scenario provided in a way that leaves you wanting to know more about what’s traveling through each of their thoughts and actions, yet at the same time, we don’t want to know because of the twisted, murky, edgy resolve awaiting if fully revealed. For Mermer and Sancar’s officers, it is the simple displeasure of having to transport their passenger to an unwanted and frankly sickening purpose he’s required for, all while battling their own ideas about what transpired and who’s responsible.  Then, there is Kozan’s character, whose sheer agony and need for retribution against whomever perpetrated the heinous crime in question begs for finality we never get to see, which can also raise further questions and suppositions. Again, effective!

In total, and quite honestly, assuming this reviewer has gleaned the heart of Rzayev’s project correctly, “Leftovers” should stand proudly as an example of the “outside-the-box” thinking independent film is so adept at, taking genres, themes, and characters done thousands of times over and managing to create something fresh from it to present to a viewing world largely in need of such originality.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!



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