Nihan: The Last Page (Short)
I have a feeling that, after four short films in the span of a year, I can expect to see multiple films for many years to come from Azerbaijanian filmmaker Tofiq Rzayev. I can live with that, because not only does “Nihan: The Last Page” continue the string of powerful filmmaking Rzayev has shown in each film, it also shows that, once again, something new will be seen with each film. He will not be content to tell the same story over and over, and I could not be happier about that. In tone, “Nihan” shares much in common with “Akibet (Aftermath),” the first film of his I saw, but it’s a different spin on the same basic idea of dealing with grief that excites me, and gets to a truth I understand well myself.
In 2000, I lost my grandfather on my mother’s side. He was the last grandparent of mine who passed away, and we had many years together to bond and that bond was as important to me as the one I had with my parents. More so than my parents, he supported my creative pursuits and musical development, and it meant a lot to me over the years to come. When he died, I was overcome by grief, and wanted to honor him by writing a piece charting my emotional journey from the time we found out he was sick to after he died. It was an ambitious work, and it took me about five years to finally complete it, but it was an important part of my grieving process, and helped find an acceptance of his loss that was important in my overall emotional evolution.
The Man in “Nihan” (played by Erhan Sancar) is going through a similar journey. His wife, Nihan (Sevgi Ucgayabasi), has passed away, and with her all of the hopes and dreams they had for their future. In response to his grief, he has written a book about these hopes, and he is on the last page. He cannot bring himself to finish it, though, because he knows how it must end. There’s a finality he is not ready to face, and it is uncomfortable, but if he is to find peace, he must accept it. I was very much in his shoes when I was writing the piece I recount above, so I know how difficult it could be. But life must be allowed to transpire as it must, and we must be able to move on. This is the truth The Man must find, and see his struggle with it makes for another powerful cinematic experience from a fresh, thoughtful new voice in world cinema. The only question I have is, how much longer until I see Rzayev turn his talents to feature-length filmmaking?