Hotel World

I watched all 7 episodes of Who Were We Running From? (original Turkish title: Biz Kimden Kaçiyorduk Anne?)

We start at a high-class hotel, which turns out to be the category of venue where our main characters spend most of their lives.

A woman in her 30s, who is only ever referred to as “Mother”, is sleeping in her room with a teenage daughter only ever referred to as “Bambi”. She wakes up and realises they need to get out quickly.

That proves to be an excellent premonition, as a huge load of armed police are arriving imminently.

But the mystery couple have already got away.

Mother and Bambi have a happy life travelling the world, checking in to top hotels and then living in their rooms, never dining outside or settling anywhere. This usually mystifies the staff.

Bambi got her name/nickname from her favourite book, which Mother has read to her endless times. Mother is later disconcerted when she finds out her daughter knows the entire text by heart and doesn’t need her to read it to her. When the pair are in a bookshop, Mother is unhappy at the idea that her daughter might want to read something new, but her attention is captured by a model of a black car, which she insists on stealing and ritually destroying.

When Bambi persuades her to try dining in the main hall with everyone else, she gets furious at the staff and manages to make a scene.

We have to move on when it seems that another guest recognises Mother, and we also have to move on every time a creepy old man notices Bambi or bothers Mother, they always end up dead soon. The storyline is narrated by Bambi who seems to be speaking from some unspecified time in its future (we seem to be approximately in the present day, no major events are referenced). The action includes scenes away from the couple as well as what seem to be interviews with witnesses around the storyline. We see the police investigation and some interrogations.

Mother is quite violent whenever her paranoid fear and contempt for all the fake people with “pinned-on faces” overflows, and she’s got her Bambi absorbing this mindset along the way.

The money that she is throwing around with gay abandon seems to come from a variety of trust funds she has, and she also has property she can get to. Mother can be startlingly shrewd and acute around danger, correctly figuring out when a trap has been prepared, at odds with the apparent instability of her outlook.

It slowly unfolds that she had an unhappy time with her parents, and Bambi seems to be the result of a liaison she had with Daddy’s car mechanic. We do get to see Daddy, who has picked up the news that Mother has been sighted, and he seems to be able to pull a lot of strings and control the police pursuit of his errant offspring. There is of course a big confrontation.

The confrontation at the end of episode 6 with Daddy, and his eagerness to claim the grandchild, hints at similarities with the underlying plot of Polanski’s Chinatown. It might not be coincidental that this actor has a resemblance to John Huston, and the climax of the violence with a character getting blinded could be a reference to Faye Dunaway ending up shot through the eye. But here that ending is temporarily averted as our runaway couple get further away.

Although some parts of this plot are preposterous (when the fugitives dive off a cliff, losing nearly all their remaining money in the process, yet somehow still being able to afford a bungalow) and there are times when it may make more sense for it all to turn out to be a fever dream or a fugue state, this does seem to be altogether a more or less accurate portrayal of life amongst damaged personalities that have so much money they never need to attempt to be normal.

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