Steam: The Turkish Bath

  • 1996
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama, Romance

Istanbul casts a magic spell over an Italian interior designer in this interesting but uneven romantic drama from Ferzan Opetek. Leaving his wife home in Rome, Francesco (Alessandro Gassman) travels to Istanbul to sell off a piece of property left to him by an estranged aunt who moved to Turkey after a falling out with Francesco's late mother. When he arrives,...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Istanbul casts a magic spell over an Italian interior designer in this interesting but uneven romantic drama from Ferzan Opetek. Leaving his wife home in Rome, Francesco (Alessandro Gassman) travels to Istanbul to sell off a piece of property left to him by an

estranged aunt who moved to Turkey after a falling out with Francesco's late mother. When he arrives, Francesco discovers that the bequeathed building is actually a dilapidated hamam: a Turkish bath house where men once gathered for companionship and, occasionally, sex. Francesco is

intrigued by this relic from Istanbul's rapidly receding past, and as he settles in with Osman (Halil Ergun), the hamam's custodian, and his family, Francesco decides not to sell the property after all, but restore the bath to its former glory. Inspired by a packet of letters belonging to

his aunt -- a woman whose experiences in Istanbul parallel his own -- and his growing attraction to Osman's son Mehmet (Mehmet Gunsur), Francesco sets off on a journey of self- discovery and finds he's not quite the man he thought he was. Despite a sudden shift in focus and tone at its climax,

Opetek's film is an absorbing look at the kind of freedom to be found in the gap between cultures. Opetek creates a palpable air of mystery about the ramshackle hamam that manages to be intoxicating without succumbing to the exotic cliches that are too often the mainstay of films set east

of the Mediterranean.

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  • Released: 1996
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Istanbul casts a magic spell over an Italian interior designer in this interesting but uneven romantic drama from Ferzan Opetek. Leaving his wife home in Rome, Francesco (Alessandro Gassman) travels to Istanbul to sell off a piece of property left to him b… (more)

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