Mommy, I’m Scared is Reha Erdem’s ensemble offering. At 128 minutes, it is a long film, but its length does not sit heavily on the viewer’s consciousness. Its brilliant script, riveting performances, idiosyncratic characters and engaging actors combine to keep the viewer delightedly engrossed.
The film deals with the lives of a motley collection of neighbours (taxi drivers, retired army medicos, dress makers, gymnasts, window cleaners, butchers) in an apartment house in Istanbul near the Bosporus. We have four plots unfolding parallely: Ali’s (Ali Dusenkalkar) temporary loss of memory after a fall from a tree and its subsequent recall; Ipek’s (Senay Gurler) pregnancy outside wedlock and her subsequent birthing; Ceten’s (Ozan Uygun) attempts at escaping circumcision and his subsequent surgery; Neriman’s (Isil Yusesoy) attempt at getting rid of her chronic allergy by abandoning her beloved pet dog only to have him subsequently return. All these are a merry romp through contemporary Turkish urban mores and ways.
As would be expected in Reha Erdem’s films, the Bosporus is never far away. Here its influence is felt and rules the cathartic outcome of the film’s finale in as sombre colours as its blue grey waters swirling around a rocky shore.