“LEYLAK”: A Quiet and Powerful Film Depicting A Family’s Grief Observed in the 2020-2021 COVID 19 Pandemic

By Vernon Nickerson

500,000 deaths to date. Once upon a time it was only 100,000; 25,000 of those were from NY, NY. Thankfully, 61 died in New York with a family’s remembrance. This is where “Leylak” (the Turkish word for mauve and or lilac) begins. Historically, the color symbolizes spring and mourning the loss of a loved one. Both themes frame the story simply and powerfully. Ironically, in writing this review I could not tell you how it ends; although “Leylak”, like too many good things these days, does indeed have an ending. We, the 2021 survivors, have lived to witness how this global pandemic ends. Because the events it depicts are such a profound, persistent, pervasive and prolific part of current events, I want everyone to go and watch “Leylak” with at least one other person you love, or simply like.

Actors Nadir Saribacak, Isabella Haddock, and Gamze Ceylan deliver perfectly-pitched performances bringing to life the writing of Mustafa Kaymak. Directors Scott Aharoni and Dennis Latos lead the ensemble cast and crew with just the right film short finesse. So after you watch this short, you will want to talk amongst yourselves because we really all need to talk through our shared grief over what most accurately can be described as a mass genocide.

“NEVER AGAIN!” Is the only thought that comes to mind whenever I grieve the loss of 500,000 of my fellow citizens who died virtually alone. Some were fortunate if their remains were buried or cremated due to mortuaries quickly becoming overwhelmed with the masses requiring their services over the past year. According to Dr. Deborah Birx when interviewed on 60 Minutes earlier this year, at least 400,000 of the total deaths were preventable. Consequently, everyone must go see this short; it will serve as an alternative to raging at how much parochialism, xenophobia, and racism have cost our nation and our world. “Leylak” has been selected to premiere at the 2021 Tribeca film Festival this summer June 12th and June 13th.

Leylak – Teaser Trailer from DUO Entertainment on Vimeo.