Sunday, July 26, 2015

Minik Cadi, aka Little Witch (Turkey, 1975)

My main takeaway from Minik Cadi is that its star, Cicek Dilligel, is the most horrifying child to have ever walked the Earth.

In the film, Dilligel plays "Cicek", a magical little girl who makes people's clothes disappear and then either deposits them in sexy situations or makes them want to have sex with each other. Yes, this is a Turkish sex comedy starring a child, so strap in.

Also starring in the film is Turkish beauty Meral Zeren, who plays Aysel, a timid housekeeper in love with her wealthy businessman employer, Murat (Bulent Kayabas). You'd have to flip a coin to determine whether Murat looked more like a pornstar or a pedophile, such is his mustache's sleazy ambiguity, but suffice it to say that he is a certain aspect of Minik Cadi personified--that being, the aspect of it that is not all about a horrifying little girl weirdly leering at everybody.

The version of Minik Cadi that I watched lacked English subtitles, and probably mercifully so. I might be able to describe it's plot to you had its characters not all been grotesque caricatures whose actions in no way conformed to actual human behavior. Suffice it to say that there is a corporate intrigue subplot that involves business associates of Murat's who are somehow trying to screw him over, in part by setting a honey trap for him with the aid of a stylish floozy played by sexpot Senar Seven.

There is also a kidnap plot involving Murat's young son, although the way it is staged makes everyone at first assume that the boy has drowned. We immediately know that something is afoot, though, because Murat's awful family, who live with him, present a unified front of mawkish lamentation when he is around and then party like it's 1999 whenever he leaves the room. It is at this point that Cicek makes her entrance, seemingly appearing from underneath the grieving Murat's car just as he is about to drive off a cliff.

Cicek's introduction involves a bone chilling sequence during which we watch Cicek Dilligel's face in closeup as it robotically files through a series of "expressions".  These expressions all fall into a category that would normally be considered cute, winsome, or adorable, and the problem is not that they are cloying--though they would be if they were not presented by Dilligel with all the cynicism of a 50 year old saloon girl. It is as if she is cruelly mocking anyone stupid enough to fall for her babydoll shtick. There is seriously no point at which she does not come off as venemously sarcastic.

From this point on, Minik Cadi plays out like a remake of Bewitched in which Samantha is a frightening child and Darren is played by John Holmes. As far as movie magic goes, it's certainly nothing we haven't seen before. Cicek casts her spells by wiggling her chin and the special effects are all of the type by which an actor vanishes simply by stepping out of frame when the camera is turned off. Cicek even has a hectoring mother witch who appears from time to time to set her straight, although she looks less like Agnes Moorehead than she does a senior resident of a Palm Springs trailer park.

Anyhoo, once introduced into the household, Cicek puts Murat's family through all the expected comic humilations while at the same time trying to make a love connection between Murat and Aysel.
She also magically strips Senar Seven down to her knickers and makes her materialize in a room full of horny men--which is hilarious, because they will probably rape her. On the other hand, Cicek saves Aysel from rape on two different occasions by transforming her into an animal--a dog in the first case, and a bear in the latter. Given the current sensitive climate, I am prompted to ask whether it is victim blaming to imply that Aysel would not have been raped had she not been human. Serves her right for walking around all bipedal like that.

Oh, and there is also a topless, big titted mermaid so that we can truly feel like we're watching a combination nudie cutie/children's film directed by the guy who made Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny.

Finally a pair of hit men--who I like to think of as audience surrogates--show up to assassinate Cicek. This admittedly provided some interest, though it only ended up with Cicek having a couple more foils to magically strip of their dignity. Then there's a scene where Cicek and her witch godmother wander around a rotting old house and cicek talks to a rat.

Minek Casi reached a peak of sorts for me near its conclusion, when Cicek transformed herself into a monkey wearing a Mr. Spock tee shirt. It was a nice try, but nothing Minek Casi could have done at that point would have convinced me that watching it had not been a soul wrecking waste of time. If anyone deserves Cicek Dilligel's cheerful derision, it is I.

1 comment:

msmariah said...

Wow, this movie looks really trippy. I can't say I've seen a film like this one before.