There’s a lot to be said for the maxim that the truth is often stranger than fiction. Given the unbelievable events taking place in American politics at the moment, it’s fair to say that no author would claim ownership of that book. Sadly, the US is not alone. Madness seems to have infected politicians in many countries around the world. Turkey is normally at the top of that list and as Mahmut Fazil Coskun’s new film The Announcement attests, it’s not a new phenomenon.
On May 22nd, 1963. A group of army officers who are unhappy with the prevailing social and political situation in Turkey mount a coup d’état. Whilst their compatriots in Ankara are overthrowing the government, four men in Istanbul have the vital task of taking over the national radio station. However, nothing goes to plan and with no communication from the capital, the group of co-conspirators become increasingly frustrated.
The Announcement takes a true story and turns it into a mix of deadpan comedy and a Kafkaesque social satire. Coskun has a lot of fun with this wryly sardonic look at a country resigned to chaos and political machinations. Using largely stationary lensing, we’re drawn into the group’s ever-worsening predicament in a very real sense. The Announcement is an absurdist delight which pokes fun at the current Erdogan regime by going back to the past.