Gizem Aybike Sahin

The Girl in the Woods (2015, Tofiq Rzayev)

The Girl in the Woods is about a missing college student. The missing guy’s fianceé asks his best friend to go looking. He discovers a forest nymph with seduces wayward men with her ability to prattle on about the freedom of the forest. It doesn’t end well.

Director Rzayev tries to focus entirely on Girl’s dialogue. The best scene in Woods is the first dialogue sequence. Even though it goes on forever, actors Deniz Aslim (the lead) and Gizem Aybike Sahin (the fianceé) find a good rhythm with the long takes.

Sadly, Aslim doesn’t have that rhythm with the nymph (Cevahir Casgir). Casgir gives the weakest performance, but it’s not entirely her fault. Her character is absurd.

Rzayev’s direction plummets after the open; he free falls with no sense of scale or orientation. There’s no perseverance. It’s perfunctory.

Girl’s not good enough to frustrate, but definitely to annoy.


Produced, edited, photographed and directed by Tofiq Rzayev; screenplay by Rzayev and Erdogan Ulgur, based on a story by Rzayev; music by Gergö Elekes.

Starring Deniz Aslim (Mert), Cevahir Casgir (Girl), Gizem Aybike Sahin (Ceren) and Mehmet Samer (Cem).

Aftermath (2014, Tofiq Rzayev)

Aftermath goes too far. Director Rzayev operates without taking the benefits of reduction and constraint into account. The short would work a lot better if he just cut out a couple money moments. It’s a short with one scene–Gizem Aybike Sahin argues with her brother, played by Berkan Uygun; most of that scene is exposition. Aftermath has room to be muted.

Technically, a lot of the short is fantastic. Rzayev’s composition is outstanding. However, he uses a Panavision aspect ratio with shaky DV. DV can be shaky in 16:9, but that added crop just breaks some of the reality.

Great music from Gergö Elekes. And Rzayev’s lighting is fantastic too.

Sahin’s okay as the sister. She’s trying. Uygun’s bad. His one big moment flops because it’s not believable Sahin’s in the room; the shot’s off.

Aftermath has a more is less problem. But Rzayev’s direction has definite strengths.

1/3Not Recommended


Photographed and directed by Tofiq Rzayev; written by Rzayev and Erdogan Ulgur; music by Gergö Elekes.

Starring Gizem Aybike Sahin (Sister) and Berkan Uygun (Brother).

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