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.