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TIMES AND WINDS

Director: REHA ERDEM

TURKEY • 2006 subtitled • colour • ANAMORPHIC • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 112 MIN


THE INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS OF NURI BILGE CEYLAN (CLIMATES, DISTANCE) HAS PUT TURKISH CINEMA ON THE MAP, BUT THIS CHRONICLE OF A VILLAGE CHILDHOOD FROM UNHERALDED WRITER-DIRECTOR REHA ERDEM IS SOMETHING ELSE AGAIN.
Languid, mysterious, shot through with earthiness and poetry, it’s quite a remarkable film, recommended to anyone who’s ever been held in thrall by the work of Abbas Kiarostami, Theo Angelopoulos or even Terrence Malick. Set in a rural community some years in the past, its action breaks into five sections after the daily Muslim calls to prayer, resounding from the minaret which dominates the craggy landscape. The Imam, a stern, ailing figure, is father to pre-teen Omer (Ozkan Ozen), who heartily wishes him dead, and shares his dark secret with his best pal Yakup (Ali Bey Kayali), whose adolescent emotions are fluttering after the arrival of a new female teacher. Meanwhile, the boys’ female classmate Yildiz (Elit Iscan) is startled when she sees two donkeys following the course of nature in the fields, and later peeks into her parents’ bedroom… Punctuated by graceful panoramas of the changing climate and floating Steadicam shots following the kids scampering through the cobbled streets, Erdem’s film carefully parcels out its everyday revelations, since its immersive impact is less about a twisty plotline than allowing us to experience the particular rhythms of place. The days, the seasons, the muezzin, all have their unchanging cycle and there’s a suggestion the frictions of human relationships, as founded here on traditional gender roles and religious teaching, may yet prove just as immutable. A haunting vision lent timeless gravitas by the music of Arvo Part, this is a genuine discovery. — Trevor Johnston.

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