Hesitation Wound

London Premiere | 31 May 21:10 | Odeon Luxe West End

Canan juggles her duties as a criminal defence attorney on a murder case and tending to her comatose mother in the hospital. But on the day of the sentencing hearing of a murder suspect she is defending, Canan is presented with unexpected difficulties that will have consequences on the lives of her defendant, the judge and her mother. 

Turkish director Selman Nacar made a compelling debut as a feature film director in 2021 with Between Two Dawns, a gripping workplace drama filled with moral quandaries. Now, Nacar presents his second feature Hesitation Wound, a winner of the Feature Film Competition prize at the 19th Zurich Film Festival, that astutely deals with profound questions surrounding criminal justice and morality. Nacar is a graduate of both law and film, and masterfully combines his dual expertise to shed light on the intricacies of the law and what it means to be human. 

With a tight camera that never loses the protagonist from its sight, the film intimately follows Canan (Tülin Özen) across an intense 24 hour period. In the courtroom, she defends Musa (Ogulcan Arman Uslu), a former factory worker who is on trial for being the prime suspect of the murder of Yakup, his boss. Canan is convinced of Musa’s innocence and so she builds a strong case for her defendant, yet her efforts to persuade the court to rethink their decisions makes it clear to her that she is impossibly working against a corrupt and self-serving Turkish legal system. 

Özen delivers a powerhouse of a performance teetering on the edge of a breakthrough or collapse. Canan’s hardened, hyper-committed exterior slowly cracks to reveal glimpses of vulnerability as she delves deeper into Musa’s case and remains firm in her refusal to accept that her mother is brain dead, despite the doctor’s confirmation. Her sister Belgin (Gulcin Kultur Sahin), however, is not so subtle with her hard-hitting reality checks, urging Canan to co-sign papers that will allow their mother’s organs to be donated. 

A woman accustomed to control, Canan’s resolve is tested. How far can she push to save the lives of Musa, her mother and, ultimately, her own?

Selman Nacar | 84 mins | Turkey, Spain, Romania, France