Hejar review

Your ears may prick up when we tell you Hejar was banned in its native Turkey. Well, lower 'em back down again, because this is a familiar tale of reluctant inter-generational bonding, unhealthily reminiscent of Jan Sverak's Kolya.

Retired judge Rifat (Sukran Gungor) takes in five-year-old Hejar (Dilan Ercetin) when she's left an orphan by a police raid. The kid speaks forbidden Kurdish, has nits in her hair and pees on the carpet. Inevitably, though, she gradually melts the old duffer's heart.

Sophomore director Handan Ipecki draws strong performances from her actors, particularly young Ercetin, but that's about all the praise this picture deserves. Okay, so Hejar bravely questions Turkey's decision to outlaw a minority language, but any potential prickliness is smothered by the gooey central relationship. If that wasn't sickly enough, the sentimentality reaches a sticky low with Hejar's adoption of a fwuffy ickle kitten.

You'll leave emotionally exhausted in all the wrong ways. Not least because Ipecki takes two hours to tell a 90-minute story.

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