In the alternate version of Turkey in “The Antenna (Bina),” a nationwide satellite network scheme promises to united the country and establish “the idea order,” “a single body.”
Only the guy installing the satellite dish at a random apartment complex that’s among the first hooked-up tumbles off the roof to his death.
“That’s a shame,” the locals say (in Turkish, with English subtitles). That puddle on the roof? Think nothing of it.
The dish and its connections ooze black bile that nobody seems to react to with much alarm, even as it swallows, smothers, kills and rots all in its path — leaking out of tubs, shorting out lights, spreading fear, paranoia and madness floor to floor to floor.
Heavy-handed metaphor — repression and oppression achieved through state-sponsored group-think — but we get it. And get it some more.
“The medium is the message,” Marshall McLuhan prophesied. The medium is the monster, the debut feature of Orcon Behram warns.
Mehmet (Ihsan Önal) is a building supervisor in a Turkey even more repressive than the real one. In this alternate reality, Turkey is installing a nationwide satellite TV network that will, through dishes on every roof, link the nation to government approved weather, quiz shows and “The Nightly Bulletin,” delivered by a dear leader who looks a tad like the fellow running the country right now — Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Mehmet has taken to wearing a suit to work to show “I take this job seriously,” even though his boss (Levent Ünsal) knows he snoozes at work.
Mehmet has hopes a repressed, despairing young lady in the building (Gül Arici) out of the country, but no hopes of joining her after she flees. He is what is, and changing locations won’t alter that.
But this guy who fell off the roof? That’s just the beginning of Mehmet’s new horrors. Noises in the walls, flooding in the baseball, and everywhere this oily black ooze — coming out of outlets, faucets, seeping through grout.
We see various tenants watching TV, living their lives and either succumbing to what’s going on, or crying out in alarm.
There are hints of “1984,” “Fahrenheit 451” and “Brazil” in this dystopia, but only hints.
A living nightmare of your home turning on you, and your neighbors, is faced by each apartment individually, families torn by what they can’t articulate or overwhelmed by a threat they didn’t realize was here.
What’s on the screen is more allegorical than interesting, although some of the visuals reach the level of indelibly nightmarish.
Satire and allegory aren’t alien to that corner of the world, but you’ve got to give us a little more than this to cling to and mull over.
MPAA Rating: unrated, disturbing images
Cast: Ihsan Önal, Gül Arici, Elif Cakman, Murat Saglam and Levent Ünsal.
Credits: Written and directed by Orcun Behram. A Dark Star release.
Running time: 1:56