The Festival of Troubadours 2022 Movie Review
“The Festival of Troubadours” is a film that follows a father who meets his son after twenty-five years. Heves Ali, an outstanding folk musician, is now suffering. He is aware that he is surviving on borrowed time. Before leaving the world, he decides to make amends with all those whom he wronged. When Yusuf was woken by an unexpected doorbell one night, his father, who abandoned him twenty-five years back, stood on the other side. Can Yusuf forgive his father for leaving him?
“The Festival of Troubadours” is a slow-paced film capturing the nuances of a strained father-son relationship. The film beautifully contrasts the mighty landscape with the discomfort of spending hours with the man Yusuf hated in the confined space of his car. “The Festival of Troubadours” is worth watching for the stunning visuals.
The relationship between the father and the son is evident from the very first instant. While taking a picture at a photo studio, Yusuf looked at his father with admiration, but Heves Ali was not included in the framing, triggering a sense of distance between the two. After twenty-five years, when Heves visited his son, he was suffering from chronic illness. He explained to Yusuf that he was visiting his mother’s grave and decided to stay at his place due to the heavy rainfall. Yusuf was confused and surprised. He could not comprehend why his father turned up at his doorstep after so many years. Heves planned to leave the next morning to travel to Arkanya and then to Kars. As Yusuf got the bed ready for his father, he noticed that Heves was bleeding. When Yusuf showed concern, Heves stated that his doctor had said that it would heal within a few days. But Yusuf was doubtful about it. In the morning, he took pictures of the test report his father was carrying. Yusuf left his house for work; he was an attorney at the Ministry of Justice. He contacted his friend and asked him to study the report and inform him if it indicated any serious illness.
He was later informed by his friend that his father’s condition was unstable. After studying the logs of various hospitals, his friend concluded that the man had been to every one of them, but not a single doctor could come up with a promising solution. Without further delay, Yusuf tracked down the bus Heves was traveling on and asked him to join him in his car. Even though his father had abandoned him, he felt responsible for taking care of him. He decided to drive his father to his destination and thus began their journey together to discuss their past and make up for the lost time.
Heves Ali wanted the blessings of his friends and students and also the forgiveness of all those whom he had hurt in his lifetime. It was his dying wish, and somehow Yusuf had become a part of it. Heves knew that the world might forgive him, but his son would struggle to accept it. Meanwhile, Yusuf yearned for his father to express regret or remorse for leaving him when he needed him the most. Throughout the journey, Yusuf expressed how he had suffered for not having his father by his side. He waited for him at the boarding school, but his father never came to visit him. What frustrated him the most was the fact that, as a troubadour, Heves Ali sang for the mountains, the plains, and his lovers, but he could never find the time to talk to his son. Whenever Yusuf saw a father-son pair, he would wonder what his life would have been like if Heves had not left him. The lack of a father figure had affected Yusuf more than Heves had ever thought it would. But he chose to not respond to Yusuf’s anger. Most of the journey was spent in silence. It was layered with discomfort, rage, and sadness, but the words spoken were few. At times, they paused to admire the beauty of nature that surrounded them.
Heves went door to door, meeting his students, friends, and lovers, asking them for their best wishes, and seeking forgiveness. One of his lovers was Zere, a woman with red hair who played the baglama. In the past, Heves would sit under the tree and play his baglama, and Zere would play back. That was how they fell in love. But suddenly, Heves stopped visiting Zere’s village. Zere waited for her lovers for months and seasons. Finally, Heves returned to their village, and Zere’s heart raced to meet her lover. But Heves did not return to meet his lover, and Zere knew it when she heard him sing a new song, he wrote for another woman who had blonde hair. Zere realized that it was all over, and she walked back home in silence that day. Heves knocked on her door for forgiveness and played his baglama under the tree just like he used to. Zere opened the door and joined him to play music together. Even after the history that they shared, she accepted his apology.
The next morning, Zere asked Yusuf to inform her if his father’s condition had deteriorated. She asked him to not be upset with his father any longer since it was all in the past. Heves Ali was not a man who could bind himself to the rules of society and stay within the four walls of a house. His art was born out of his undefined lifestyle. Zere did not know better in the past, which was why she felt bitter about him, but now she understood him more than ever. She asked Yusuf to think about it all before coming to any conclusion.
The Festival of Troubadours was where all of Heves Ali’s friends/ troubadours gathered to play music together and celebrate their traditions. Heves’ condition worsened when he went to visit another group of friends and had to be admitted to the hospital. Yusuf held his father’s hand when he was lying on the hospital bed. He checked his father’s belongings and found the cap that Heves always wore. Inside it, he found the picture that he had taken with his father when he was young. Yusuf realized that his father never forgot about him. He carried Yusuf wherever he went. In their journey together, Heves once mentioned that he never contacted Yusuf, thinking that his life was better without knowing his father. He did not know that his mother would remarry, though he approved of her decision. Yusuf shared a bitter relationship with his stepfather, who had sent him to boarding school. Naturally, Yusuf blamed Heves for ruining his childhood, but the picture reminded him of the few yet happy days that he had spent with Heves.
After listening to the men playing baglama, Heves opened his eyes. He wanted Yusuf to take him to the festival. Even though it was a risky decision, Yusuf knew how much it meant to his father. He decided to take him there in an ambulance and reunite him with all his friends one last time. Heves made the three-hour-long journey and reached the festival. Everyone made way for the maestro. He raised his baglama and asked his friends for their blessings. His friends blessed him in unison and played music for him. Heves’ condition was worsening, and he had to be taken back to the hospital, but on his way, he lost his life. When Yusuf got down from the ambulance, he could not stop himself from crying. As he looked up, he saw his father holding the baglama and walking along with little Yusuf.
Even though he did not have too many childhood memories of his father, he cherished the time they had spent together. The final journey to the festival of Troubadours helped Yusuf understand his father and forgive him. He helped Heves fulfill his dying wish, and the man could leave the world in peace. The person whom Yusuf believed was selfish was living the life of a nomad, and Yusuf could no longer blame him for his lifestyle and choices. At one point, he dreamt of choking his father out of hate, but it was all resolved when he saw his father carrying his picture along with him even after all these years. Yusuf found the closure he was looking for in the form of an unexpected journey. “The Festival of Troubadours” ends on an emotional note, with Yusuf listening to a recorded tape of his father while driving home alone in his car.