Steam - The Turkish Bath
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This film is so many things, but summarized it's a piece of exotica (the East as seen through the eyes of foreigners) which takes advantage of its distant locale to peer back and dissect the social flaws of the West, and the forgotten humanity of the East as well. It accomplishes as much through a deceased main character, an Italian who late in life discovered her place and contentment in Turkey. Through the living characters, we discover her tale and journey.
I say this is an intelligent film as there are no black or white characters here; every character is multi-dimensional. No one character is portrayed as more valid than another. Nowhere else is this more evident than in the character of wife, who to the astonishment of the lovers shows up in Turkey unannounced. And in a brilliant twist, it is this character who is the hereoine of the film.
This a peek into a strangely beautiful place. It profoundly moved me.
Those hoping to see an expensive porn movie will be disappointed, though it is not lacking in eroticism due to the superb acting (those stares!) and location.
This movie also shows a way of life in Turkey that is perhaps disappearing; an old style of architecture that is perhaps endangered there, as in the whole world, by developers. And this movie shows the wonderful ways of the Turkish people -they wrote the book on hospitality, and so many of them are totally psychic - if you travel to Turkey, someone somewhere will read your palm or your coffee grounds and will be amazingly accurate. They seem to be able to see right into your soul.
This is a wonderful movie.
It is not a 'gay' movie at all, despite the cover and the hype. Ok there is an element (without giving the story away), but it is a sensitive and clever film exploring a group of people.
It's not a 'romp' movie. Anyone who buys it for watching alone for self comfort will be hugely disappointed. Anyone who buys it for a great story and tremendous atmoshere will have an excellent evening.
What I enjoyed most about STEAM was glimpsing into a depiction of native life in a typical Turkish neighborhood. I was absorbed in the dynamics that propelled this typical Turkish family and appreciated the sense of community they established with the people around them inside and outside their front door, often using food and the rituals surrounding it as a bridge for communication. Music, vocal and instrumental, also features in this story. All in all, I found the story to be enticingly exotic.
Clearly, the main theme of the film has little to do with the Americanized, romanticized, eroticized idea of bath houses. Rather, it's all about how a change of scenery (more specifically, a cultural transplant) can spark personal understanding and change. The main couple, Francesco and Marta, bring home the bacon by working as architects and interior designers. They make things look nice. Their lives are largely superficial, including how they interact with one another in Italy. Francesco is physically beautiful, but Turkey and learning more about his late aunt proves him to be kind and painfully sentimental, too. Marta is thoroughly modern, but she eventually proves that she's nowhere near as shallow as she appears at first flush.
My favorite scenes are those that occur between Marta and her husband's lover. They barely speak a word to each other, but there's no question of what each is thinking.
I admit that I didn't adore this film, but I think it's redeeming qualities far outnumber its faults. In fact, its only glaring fault is a plot twist involving Francesco near the end of the film.
STEAM is a softly drawn, sometimes abstract story. If you don't enjoy filling in some of the blanks for yourself or if you equate the word "sensual" with "sexy,", then you should probably avoid STEAM and seek out lighter fare that requires less work or thought from the viewer.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For those seeking a gay film, my recommendation is to search elsewhere. "Steam-The Turkish Bath" is more a film concerning family tradition/national identity rather than a... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Clayton
A great movie on all accounts. It's about a man trying to find himself. He's an upscale interior designer in Rome with a svelte educated wife. Read morePublished 5 months ago by gioconda la felice
It is a beautiful film, is one of those old movies where the theme of love between two men is handled very subtly, at the end of the movie you feel wanting more, scenarios very... Read morePublished 12 months ago by J. M
Great photography. Well rounded characters. Interestingly woven story. Unexpected twists. Didn't see the end coming. Well worth watching . Very satisfying to watch.Published on January 23, 2014 by Terry O'Shea
STEAM is a tasty blend of Turkish/Italian cultures that proves love knows no boundaries. Absolutely no chemistry exists between drop dead gorgeous Allessandro Gassman and Francesca... Read morePublished on October 9, 2013 by Samuel Augustus Jennings
This is one of my favorites, along with "His Secret Life" & "Saturn In Opposition", "Family Flaw" & "The Man in His Life" (BTW, a GREAT French... Read morePublished on April 28, 2013 by Jude Barnes