Raro Video // 1997 // 98 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // February 19th, 2012
What he inherited was a sexual awakening...
An Italian businessman's life is turned upside down when he inherits a Turkish bath from his aunt. He heads down to Turkey to run it, and then soon discovers that he can be free there to be who he has been hiding all these years. He falls for a young Turkish man who is the son of the caretaker of the bath. His cold wife is shocked to discover that he is dabbling in his long repressed love of men, and also surprised to see him so alive. Steam: The Turkish Bath is a lingering character study that shows more inner turmoil than a whole lot of skin or explicit sex. It's a well-crafted film that takes a good long while to pay off. We're not shocked by any events until the last segments, but part of the charm of this type of film is the comfort in the material.
Raro offers a nice DVD with a brand new transfer that makes the film look pretty good. There is some softness and grain, but on the whole color tones are vibrant yet natural. The Italian dialogue comes in a well-handled stereo that is clear enough. There are some nice extras: interviews with the producer and the director, a twenty minute look at the making of the film, and a fair amount of computer content, including a booklet and critical pieces on the feature. It is mentioned that the subtitles have been improved for this version, and they seem to tell the story well enough.
Steam: The Turkish Bath is a character study about two cold Italians who come to find things out about themselves in Turkey. The iconic bath represents a certain amount of freedom to them, and it is a place where they learn to have passion. The film itself is a bit prudish, showing very little nudity, and the pace is glacial. It's more a character study than anything else, contrasting the stylish cold Italians with the warm and passionate Turks. The film has many striking looks at Istanbul, and that is the most intriguing aspect of it. Raro offers a fully loaded disc with a nice transfer and plenty of extras.
Guilty of taking it's time in the bath, this is one film that likes to take
it easy and beautiful.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Raro Video
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Italian)
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 1997
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* DVD-ROM Content