Francesco and his wife Marta live in Rome and they run a small design company. One day Francesco finds out that his long forgotten aunt Anita has died in Istanbul and has left him her house. When he reaches Istanbul, he discovers that the house is actually an old hamam, in an old original part of Istanbul. Due to the downfall of the tradition, the hamam lost its appeal and had to be closed down. Francesco also finds the letters that his aunt wrote to his mom but never posted. He meets the family who was taking care of his aunt and his happily surprised by their kindness and simplicity. With their support Francesco decides to rebuild the hamam. He gets all support from the family and neighborhood and also find love in Mehmet, the son of the family. Francesco finally realizes that he might actually be gay. When Marta comes to Istanbul, she initially finds it very hard to adjust and the real reason of her to come there is to break up with Francesco since she had been sleeping with another guy for past 2 years. One day she finds Francesco and Mehmet together kissing in the hamam and she picks up a fight and leaves the house. Francesco then gets murdered by the construction company who was trying to buy the hamam and other houses in the area to build a farm. Finally, Marta stays back because now she understands where Francesco was coming from and will now fulfill his dream.
This film as earlier projected in US is not a cheap gay thrill. Its actually a shame that they had to resort to such cheap gimmicks to market this film when the film otherwise is so brilliant in the first place. Except for one kiss between the 2 men, there is nothing cheesy, bad pr erotic about this film. The film is about finding true place in life physically and emotionally. Its about finding love and happiness in what you do. The love between the family, the 2 men, their kindness, everything is so charming to watch. My eyes were wet and with a smile on my face, I was enjoying every minute of the film. The characters were so spot on. Happy been related and be close to Turkey for 5 years now, I could see so much authenticity in the way the characters were portrayed. All the actors did a fantastic job and yes it indeed is a worthy debut as a director with equally charming follow-ups.
It's really a beautiful film, both in scenery, sentiment and depth of feeling. (8/10)