Law of the Border Screen 75 of 4 reviews

Law of the Border

1966

Law of the Border Poster
  • Running well under eighty minutes, Law of the Border is haunting in its terseness, disarming in its simplicity. What grounds it, first and foremost, is the mesmerizing presence of its lead, Güney, playing the quiet, charismatic smuggler Hıdır.

  • The stark landscapes, jagged shootouts, clash with modernity—this is a Turkish Western, and a good deal like our own. The cinematic/narrative construction isn't seamless, and the ending could use a subtler touch. But the way it sketches the relations between its community and the authorities trying to force them to modernize is as thoughtful, sensitive, and—yes—subtle as any genre film we were home-growing over here.

  • Scorsese calls Lütfi Ö. Akad’s Law of the Border “a Turkish Western” in a brief introduction, but that conceptualization seems counterproductive since Akad’s 1966 film has more in common with the formal and thematic interests of neorealism.

  • According to Bilge Ebiri's Criterion essay, Güney originally wrote Law of the Border as a down-and-dirty genre piece, and that's how it works best (mostly in its second half, which very nearly goes full spaghetti Western). Akad's efforts to reshape an exploitation flick as sociopolitical tragedy, while no doubt representing a milestone in Turkish cinema history, are considerably less elegant.