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CLIMATES

Director: NURI BILGE CEYLAN

TURKEY-FRANCE • 2006 • SUBTITLED • COLOUR • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 98 MIN


After the breakthrough ‘Uzak’ (‘Distant’), Turkish film-maker Nuri Bilge Ceylan confirms his status among the world cinema elite with this precisely calibrated portrait of a relationship falling apart. Given that Ceylan not only wrote and directed but also stars opposite his real-life spouse Ebru, his personal stamp is so ingrained it’s almost invidious to make celluloid comparisons. Yet there really is a strong kinship here to the early classics of Italian maestro Michelangelo Antonioni, especially ‘L’Avventura’ (1960). Dialogue, for example, is often secondary to body language and what the characters aren’t saying to one another, while the beautifully composed surroundings are profoundly expressive of the ongoing emotional anomie.

If this is a self-portrait, it’s not entirely flattering. Ceylan plays a university lecturer whose aloofness causes him to drift away from his TV researcher wife and back towards an old flame (in a messily believable sex scene). But is that really what he wants? At the sharp end of his bad faith, Ebru Ceylan is quite remarkable, registering all of this woman’s passionate frustration and gnawing vulnerability at her man’s seemingly ingrained inability to commit. It all feels worryingly authentic, yet at the same time it’s as far from soap-opera naturalism as you could imagine, the director’s sense of timing, and his eye for the meaning of landscape (also miraculously present in his acclaimed photographs on display at www.nuribilgeceylan.com) creating a limpidly affecting context for these personal upheavals. And the final moment of fleeting emotions played across the leading lady’s face as the snow falls is, truly, hauntingly exquisite.—Trevor Johnston.

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