I was really worried about "Yol." At first I thought the film was "Yo!," but after reading more carefully, I realized there is no !, rather an l. Good thing too. There's nothing exclamatory about "Yol." I happened to know that it was a "sleeper" going into it, so I took a nap ahead of time.
All that said, it was delightfully boring. It really was a slow film, but I thought well done, genuine, and captivating in its own right.
The story "Yol" follows four fictional characters who are convicts that have been given leave from prison in Turkey. Each of the four characters travels a great distance to see family members. Each story is tragic in its own right, and the movie is intended to be expositive of then-Turkish culture.
I think the film did an excellent job showing the problems facing then-Turkish-Islamic culture. I think things have changed since (I hope anyway), but if "Yol" is accurate, Turkey sure was a depressing place, especially for women.
The most disturbing part of the film for me is the scene where Mehmet and his family are on the trail. Mehmet's wife left him after Mehmet went to prison because he was in part responsible for her brother's death (an argument I don't totally agree with). On his leave from prison, he tracked her down and she, after much opposition from her family, agreed to go with him. While on the train, they got a little frisky and decided to go into the private bathroom for some alone time... and they got caught. I'm honestly shocked at how big of deal everyone made of it. I can't believe in that kind of male-dominated society that a husband getting a little nookie with his wife could be such a big deal. Anyway, I was really saddened and embarrassed for them, and I was quite disturbed when they were gunned down by her vigilante little brother.
The two other stories are also quite depressing, but well told. All in all, I also think it quite an accomplishment that the director made this movie while in prison by giving copious notes to a very scrupulous helper.