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Dream of Aces - Directed by Emir Kumova

Spoiler Alert

Dream of Aces is a film about the matter of seeing: the matter of looking at the subject and being seen by others. And that is what starts the film. A crowd has gathered in a hall to watch Norberto play magic. Middle-aged Norberto, standing in front of the crowd, takes everyone to the time when he was twelve years of age in Argentina by telling a story. It was the time when he was fascinated by magic and sorcery as a child attending magic classes. We see Norberto in front of TV, watching a show by a magician. Norberto, who was the subject of the audience at the beginning of the film, is now the spectator of another magician. The motif of magic itself is a matter of looking as the magician is supposed to deceive our eyes to make his trick look real. The director, Emir Kumova, has tried to include this in his work with great skill and attention to detail. Dream of Aces is an attempt to work by looking and being seen. This is well achieved through interesting scene design and lighting to camera framing and movement, editing, and excellent acting. Accordingly, when it comes to the effectiveness of the Argentinian master's magic, we see it not only through watching how young Norberto reacts, but through the reflection of joy and excitement and the taste of his face along with the smile that spreads over his lips when he sees this magic. We also see Norberto's intense desire to learn this trick through his frustrated face; a face who is not even willing to learn his master's trick a week later and is saddened that he has to wait another week to learn it. It is difficult for the director to develop the faces according to his main idea, which is "to present" and show. And the director has been successful in this.

The fascination of the screenplay Emir Kumova has written lies in the fact that right at one point, a critical moment for which small Norberto has been waiting for a long time, the moment that was supposed to lead Norberto to his favorite magic, the course of the story alters: the magician who was only thirty years old dies and Norberto is left with a passionate longing to learn that magic. It is the very magic whose name is the same as the film’s title: Dream of Aces. In this trick, the magician divides the cards into four groups, and the first top card he picks up is an ace in all four groups. All four aces which were randomly divided earlier surface. The film has different ways of developing its plot. One is the technique of interrupting the chronological sequence of events to interject events of earlier occurrence (two flashbacks) and also the occasional use of the main character as a narrator. We are the spectators in the hall, and as a magician, he can sometimes be a narrator and a storyteller. Proper expression, right use of timing, and the compelling story that he defines have changed the weight of the scene we first saw, and now we, like the spectators in the hall, are eagerly waiting to see the magic of the "Dream of Aces".

The film employs all its narrative tools in this regard. It arranges everything in such a way that when it reaches the stage of magic, in the absolute silence of the stage and using thoughtful soundtrack, it manifests practicing magic as performing a kind of ritual; the magic that happens right in front of our eyes. We are certain that there is a trick behind this magic, but our eyes are unable to see it.Here in a still view of the table, we see the hands of a magician who works miracles with cards in front of our eyes. What is the mystery behind this stunning magic that amazes the viewer? How has he learned it? How did the aces go from the corner of the table to the front of it just when we were watching everything closely? Have we not been attentive enough? As the viewers ask themselves these questions, the film places its character more and more in the center. How has young Norberto picked up this magic without the help of his teacher? Isn't that the price of a lifetime of practice?

The film, however, does not stop at this point. With an introduction (presenting a woman who is watching TV at the beginning of the film and she suddenly comes up with writing something), the end of the film goes beyond this trick. It connects the end to the life of the magician, the man who died when Norberto was too young. The woman we saw at the beginning of the film is, in fact, the daughter of a magician who was unaware of her father's identity until she sees Norberto's magic on TV and hears his memories of the magician. Norberto's final sentence, which says,” Magic can’t be explained but it can be shared.” is practically what we see throughout the film. It remains a story that cannot be explained, but one can be surprised to hear it.

Dream of Aces is a well-made, accurate, and engaging film. It does not miss a moment to surprise the viewer, constantly thinking of new visual ideas. In addition, details have been of enormous importance in making it. Using rhythm correctly and editing the views decently, Emir Kumova, a Turkish filmmaker, has managed to develop his film’s characters within a limited runtime, give depth to them, introduce them to us, and finally build a relationship between the audience and the characters. Dream of Aces is a film that can give its viewers sheer delight with the eagerness of waiting for its creator’s next films.


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