When political instability becomes the norm, what happens to the fear and drama it normally inspires? The Announcement, directed by Mahmut Fazil Coskun, puts the basics of social interaction under the microscope as Turkey stomachs yet another revolution.
Political uprisings have been common in Turkey’s past and present, and The Announcement punctures the importance of such acts when they happen so often. The story is based on the real 1963 coup by a group of four retired soldiers, who took over Istanbul’s radio station to make their declaration.
It quickly becomes clear that these revolutionaries lack any real bite, dangerous only in their nervous frustration. Their movement is too small to cause any major damage, and they are too polite to enforce their coup effectively. Each step towards their final broadcast becomes more and more farcical as they end up scouring late night Istanbul for a technician to deliver their pointless message.
No one is all that bothered about their cause, with the radio station’s manager even offering the cutting suggestion: “Shall we drive over and collect the technician? It’s what we did in the 1960 revolution.” This final section of the film makes some wry satirical points, but it sits uncomfortably beside the film’s opening sequences. Flooded by rain and ominous noir lighting, several of the conspirators travel through military checkpoints, mercilessly killing several people along the way.
In the end, these rebels aren’t deadly assassins or hapless fools, but an altogether more tragic combination of the two. They launch their coup because, in their country, it seems to be the done thing, and stumble through the motions without any conviction.
Coskun directs well, creating a classic noir aesthetic of claustrophobic tension, but ultimately his and Ercan Kesal’s script is too weak to deliver the punch they had lined up.
CAST: Ali Seckiner Alici, Tarhan Karagöz, Murat Kiliç, Sencan Güleryüz
DIRECTOR: Mahmut Fazil Coskun
WRITER: Mahmut Fazil Coskun, Ercan Kesal
SYNOPSIS: Four retired Turkish colonels launch a farcical coup, taking over an Istanbul radio station.