CANNES -- Yusuf, a withdrawn poet living in Istanbul, returns to his tiny hometown for his mother's funeral. He's been distanced, not only geographically but emotionally: Yusuf has not kept close contact with his mother. Basically, he's sort of a somnambulist. Nothing much arouses him, though we give him the benefit of the doubt that his stoic demeanor at his mother's funeral really masks deep grief.

Hoping to get back to his solitary life as a used book store owner, Yusuf is nonetheless distracted by the vibrant beauty Ayla, who has been caring for his mother the past several years. Despite his dour, uncommunicative ways, things meander forward with Ayla.

Deadened by filmmaker Semih Kaplanoglu's drab aesthetic, "Yumurta" seems unlikely to travel beyond the borders of Turkey where, evidently, Turks will appreciate certain nuances. In pacing and vitality, this Directors' Fortnight entrant is almost as listless as its drab lead character.

Plaudits to Saadet Askoy for her radiant turn as Ayla; she lights up an otherwise dull and dim drama.