Times and Winds

With this beautifully photographed, pastoral portrait of the life, rhythms and seasons of a remote mountain village, Reha Erdem adds his name to those of Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Fatih Akin in the list of directors heading up the impressive recent revival of Turkish cinema. It’s true that the conflicts of Turkey’s poised situation – at a crossroads between Asia and Europe, tradition and modernity, secularism and religion – are reflected in the lives of its three pubescent protagonists – Omer, Yakup and Yildiz – as we experience the hardship and strictures of rural life through their variously troubled and subtly handled rites of passage. But Erdem’s film is not essentially political, despite its pointed view of patriarchy – and sexism – shown in the plans, real and imaginary, of more than one of the boys to kill their respective fathers.

Divided in five discrete chapters, to reflect the changing textures of the Muslim day punctuated by five calls to prayer, and given a modernist aura by extracts from Arvo Pärt’s orchestral compositions, Erdem’s film is finally and intriguingly undefinable – another word for original. Its play of moods is encapsulated in some spectacular scenes – the kids proclaiming poetry from the mountaintops, the capture of a solar eclipse, the sacramental birth of a calf – but the film is more than a mere lyrical celebration.

It’s characterised by an enticing and earthy transcendentalism, exemplified in its most startling motif: recurrent, mysterious static tableaux of prone, slumbering children. Buried in leaves or hugging the rocks, they could be in ecstatic communion or fusing with the natural world. More likely, Erdem’s marvellous film sees them as bridging the divide between heaven and earth.

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday August 29 2008
Duration: 112 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Reha Erdem
Screenwriter: Reha Erdem
Cast: Ali Bey Kayali
Özkan Özen
Elit Iscan
Selma Ergeç
Bulent Yarar

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Film Snob

So sorry if Erdem's film didn't feature any martial arts or car-chases. Not all films have to race along, don't you know? A brilliant piece of film making. Those whom Mike called "ordinary folk" have plenty of other choices. I'm delighted to see something this consciously artistic in the cinema again.

Film Snob

So sorry if Erdem's film didn't feature any martial arts or car-chases. Not all films have to race along, don't you know? A brilliant piece of film making. Those whom Mike called "ordinary folk" have plenty of other choices. I'm delighted to see something this consciously artistic in the cinema again.

Mike

A pseuds treat, but a beautifully photographed but otherwise tedious and virtually plotless night out for ordinary folk. Stay at home and watch some paint drying for a more exciting evening.

Anthony

Beautifully shot. A bit of an ordeal to sit through at the end one wonders what was the point of the whole thing