A powerful, if not confused, depiction of the attitudes many Turkish citizens have toward Syrian refugees, Saf centres around a naive Kamil (Erol Afsin) who is in desperate need for a job. He does eventually find a job, but its working for the same construction company that demolished his close friend Fatih’s (Onur Buldu) house.

Without a formal interview, nor a license to operate the diggers on site, Kamil is given the night shift and is told that his pay will be the same as the Syrian man he is replacing. This causes friction between Kamil and some of the other workers; and leads to him being harassed by the man he replaced.

It is never made clear if Kamil and his wife Remziye (Saadet Aksoy) are immigrants themselves, as most of the hate is directed towards Syrians. The hatred depicted is far from subtle, which is perhaps the point: to illustrate the racism towards every Syrian in the country, despite knowing of their painful situation.

Gradually, Kamil’s sincere and kind nature changes. His wife notices and is forced to deal with the fallout of the situation that unfolds. Her personality also slowly changes, all culminating in a poignant ending.

While it is clumsily executed at times, the film paints a picture of not just the attitude of Turks towards Syrian refugees, but of many countries today. While some of this animosity may be justified, Saf intentionally exaggerates the situation to make its point. Whether or not this exaggeration feels appropriate given the subject matter will depend on each individual viewer and their beliefs regarding the Syrian crisis.

Tuesday, September 11, 6:15 PM, Scotiabank
Thursday, September 13, 6:15 PM, Scotiabank
Saturday, September 15, 9:45 PM, Scotiabank

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