Nuri Bilge Ceylan

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7.5 Distant (2002)
7.1 Climates (2006)
7.3 Three Monkeys (2008)
7.4 Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011)
7.5 Winter Sleep (2014)
7.3 The Wild Pear Tree (2018)

Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Turkey, 1959), a master of existential elegies drenched in brooding, meditative atmospheres, anchored his film to a deeply intimate form of visual and aural poetry, emphasizing the meticulous choreography of sound and image and downplaying the narrative structure.

His first full-length films were Kasaba/ Small Town (1997) and Mayis Sikintisi/ Clouds of May (1999).

Uzak/ Distant (2002), a poem of solitude whose silence is reminiscent of Michelangelo Antonioni, and that directly references two other masters: the protagonist watches Tarkovsky's Stalker and the only soundtrack of the film is the theme from Theo Angelopoulos' Landscape in the Mist.

The central theme of the film is the contrast between the two members of an odd couple: an urban middle-aged intellectual and a provincial young man. They belong to different age groups, they have different education (one is an artist, the other one a worker), they come from different sexual experiences (one is divorced and has a married lover, the other one is probably a shy virgin). However, they share the mental state of being unsatisfied with their life while unable to change it. They don't like each other but the older man's mother is dying and his wife is marrying someone else, and the younger man has no friends now that he lives far away from his hometown, i.e. each is all that the other one has.

Largely silent and quasi-documentarian, mostly assembled from long shots, the film overflows with metaphors: the snow that blankets both the rural and urban landscape (the only thing that they have in common, i.e. the erasing of identity), the sinking ship at the harbor where the young man is looking for employment, the young man's decision to move out after witnessing the capture of the mouse that had long lived unwelcome in the house.

A young man walks away from a rural village through a snowy landscape to a road. He reaches the city and looks for an older man, who lives alone in an apartment and did not return the message that his mother left on his answering machine. The younger man is a relative from the same hometown who lost his job when a factory shut down and has come to the city hoping to find a new job. It is snowing also in the city. The young man, Yusuf, walks around to familiarize with the life of the city. At the harbor he passes by a sinking ship and it told that he can't find jobs directly from the ships. The older man, Mahmut, takes him to a cafe where he is meeting old friends. One of them accuses Mahmut of having abandoned his artistic passion, but Mahmut retorts that photography is dead. Yusuf stares at a girl in stairwell but can't find the courage to speak to her. At night they watch television together. Mahmut pretends to be watching Tarkovsky, but it is just a pretext to drive Yusuf away from the room. Left alone, Mahmut immediately switches to an erotic video. Yusuf hangs out at cafe popular with sailor and a veteran discourages him from working on ships. Mahmut's car is now buried in snow and Mahmut prefers to walk down the deserted street. Mahmut seems to miss his privacy as he is becoming hostile to Yusuf, eager for the young man to find a job and move out. However, Mahmut doesn't seem to have anything to do in life and no motivation to find something to do. Mostly, Mahmut sits in his armchair or at his desk in his studio/library; and he lays down traps for a mouse that keeps partying in the house. Yusuf walks into an agency despite a sign that clearly states there are no jobs available. Then he returns to a cafe to smoke a cigarette in solitude. Meanwhile, Mahmut is in another cafe, chatting with a woman in a melancholy tone. She is his former wife, Nazan, who is about to leave with her fiance Orhan to Canada. Her biggest problem is infertility, caused by an abortion that she chose to have, pressured by Mahmut, when they were about to separate. Mahmut remains alone in the cafe, drinking, and exchanges looks with a woman who walks in and sits at a table with her husband. Mahmut takes Yusuf with him on a photographic trip (they explore an idyllic rural landscape in Mahmut's tiny car). but Yusuf is not much help and simply puts Mahmut in a bad mood. Back home Mahmut finds a message from his sister that their mother is being hospitalized. On a stormy night Mahmut sleeps at her mother's hospital and takes care of her. Yusuf follows a girl and watches her hiding behind trees, but can't get himself to talk to her. Yusuf finds the erotic videos and watches them while Mahmut is at the hospital. follows another one, this time at a shopping mall Yusuf seems fascinated by city girls, who are probably very different from his village's girls, but is incapable of acting. While riding a tram, Yusuf sits next to a girl and tries to touch her leg with his knee until she realizes what is going on and gets up. He seems more intent on stalking girls than on finding a job. Yusuf seems to enjoy living in the city with free lodging. The lights of the city are a new experience for him, as are the fancy dresses and the busy shops. When Mahmut returns home from the hospital, he finds a mess in the house. That night Mahmut has sex with a woman, the married woman of the cafe, but she seems more depressed than excited. Mahmut is left in a bad mood, which he vents on Yusuf when the young man comes home later in the evening. A silver pocket watch is missing. Mahmut finds it but hides it and lets Yusuf agonize with the feeling that he is being suspected of theft. Nazan calls to thank him for signing the divorce papers and to apologize that she was cold when they met at the cafe. Yusuf is still protesting his innocence about the missing watch, and Mahmut still doesn't tell him that the watch is not missing after all. Finally that night Mahmut catches the mouse that has been haunting his kitchen. Yusuf hears the mouse squealing and wakes up. Mahmut can't deal with it and Yusuf offers to dispose of the mouse. Before throwing it in the garbage can, where a salivating cat would eat it alive, Yusuf kills the mouse by smashing its head against a wall. Later Mahmut has a nightmare that nobody is in the house, the tv is on but not getting any signal, and something is causing the tall lamp to fall. Early in the morning he gets up and leaves the house. After waiting for sunrise at the waterfront, he drives to the airport and watches his wife and her fiance walk to the boarding gates. Back home Mahmut finds a surprise: Yusuf has left the house. Mahmut walks back to the waterfront and, pensive, smokes a cigarette, sitting alone on a bench. We don't hear the sounds of the city. We only hear the sounds of seagulls, wind and waves.

The story of Iklimler/ Climates (2006), played by Ceylan himself and by his wife, is divided into three stages that correspond with three seasons, beginning with a summer crisis and ending with a resolution of that crisis in the winter. The film is not so much a psychological study of a middle-aged man (we never clearly understand his motives) but a general statement about the challenges of human relationships, more akin to Ingmar Bergman than Michelangelo Antonioni.

A couple, Bahar and her girlfriend Isa, is visiting ancient ruins in Turkey. He is taking pictures, she walks around a little bored. They have dinner with a couple of friends and during dinner they explain that it is rare for them to take a vacation, being both busy, and usually in different seasons. He is a university lecturer and she works for the television. The following day at the beach she has a nightmare that he is trying to drown her in sand. Whem she goes for a wim, he practices the words to tell her that he wants to split up. When he finally talks to her, he mentions that their age difference (he is much older) has become a real problem. They ride back in his motorcycle, without uttering a word. Out of the blue, she covers his eyes with her hands, causing the motorcycle to crash. The accident marks the end of their relationship. Isa wanders alone among the pillars of the ancient ruins.
The film then fast forwards to a university lesson during which Isa shows his pictures of the ruins to his students. Later he meets an old friend in a bookstore, and through him a girl, Serap. He waits for her in front of her house till late evening. She lets him in. They are old friends, and probably more than friends. They make wild love on the couch and on the floor. Isa visits his mother, who asks him when will he get married and make children. He explains that he first needs to finish work on his thesis. He meets with Serap again, and she is surprised to hear that he left Bahar, which means that to her it was normal to have sex with him if he was still with Bahar (he must have cheated before on Bahar with Serap). Isa tells his friends that he is taking a vacation in the sun, but instead he flies to a cold, snowy town where, he has learned, Bahar is working on a television program. He spies on her as she walks under heavy snow through the streets of the rural village. SHe sees him through the window of a cafe and confronts him in the street with an angry look. She accepts to sit down with him inside the cafe. He tries to reignite her love with a carillon. He claims that he is there to take photographs of some other ruins for his thesis. She is cold. He tries again the following day. He tells her that he has changed, and she breaks down into tears. He lies flatly to her when she asks him whether he has seen Serap. She tells him that it is too late. He climbs a hill and takes pictures of the vast snowy landscape. That night, surprisingly, Bahar shows up at his hotel room. They sleep together. When they wake up, it is snowing heavily outside. Smiling, she tells him that she dreamed that she was flying over the earth and that her dead mother was waving at her from her grave. The conversation has been pleasant and romantic, but suddenly he turns sullen, he reminds her that she has to work on the set, and mentions that it is the day of his flight. her smile turns into a desolate look. He doesn't even look at her. A woman is crying over a tomb that is buried in snow... a young man with a rifle approaches her... she wants revenge for her father's death... These are actors in the film that Bahar's troupe is filming. They have to take a break due to the noise of an airplane is taking off. She knows that it is Isa's flight, and she sheds a few tears.

Uc Maymun/ Three Monkeys (2008), with vivid photography by cinematographer Gokhan Tiryaki that frequently steals the show, is a hybrid of film noir, Greek tragedy, working-class melodrama, and, last but not least, Aesop-style moral fable. What is notable is what we don't see: we don't see the car accident, we don't see the sex scene between mother and lover that the son sees from the keyhole, we don't hear the question that Eyup asks Servet, we don't see the murder, we don't see the son confessing the murder to the father, we don't even see who knocks at the door in the middle of the night (we find out in the next scene that it must have been a police officer). The ghostly dead son (the ultimate invisible element) seems to have something to do with the dysfunctional family with the father's willingness to spend a year in jail, with the brother's inability to get a job and pass an exam, with the mother's unhappiness, with the brother's decision to kill the bastard, and with the father's decision to rescue his son. Each of these three characters would deserve a separate film (or Greek tragedy), and in fact each is the protagonist at one point or another. Each could be the protagonist, and in fact they take shifts at that role: first the father, then the mother, then the son and finally the father again. Instead, this is a film without a protagonist. The film is also a cyclical story of moral punishment: one man bribes another man to go to jail for him, and this other man pays dearly for accepting and then has, in turn, bribe another man to go to jail for his son; and one wonders what will happen to this other man.

A politician, Servet, who is running for office at the forthcoming elections is driving at night. He is sleepy and accidentally kills someone. His political career would be finished. Instead, he offers a huge sum to one of his employees, Eyup, if he will take the rap. The man is condemned to one year in jail and the politician promises to pay him a lump sum when he is released. The man's son, Ismail, is unemployed and can't pass an important exam. When he visits his father in jail, that's the only thing the father asked him to do: pass the exam. One day Ismail comes home bleeding: he has been beaten by his friends. His mother, Hacer, decides to ask Servet for an advance on the lump sum, so that her son can buy a car and increase his chances of finding a decent job. She visits him at the wrong time: Servet has lost at the elections and is being humiliated on the phone by a rival. Comically, her phone's ringer goes off just when she could get his attention, and the phone keeps singing a popular song while she desperately tries to turn it off. She leaves embarrassed, but Servet insists on giving her a ride. He is clearly flirting with her. When she gets back home, she tells her son that she got Servet to agree. They did not involve Eyup because they know he would never agree out of pride and loyalty. One day the son comes home unexpectedly and catches his mother sleeping with Servet. They are having an affair. He is disgusted. Later he confronts her. She lies to him and he repeatedly slaps her in the face. In the evening he takes the train to visit his father at the prison, but lies to him that everything is ok at home. Back at home the son finds an envelop with the money that Servet paid to his mother, in theory an advance on the money Servet owes to his father, but in practice very reminiscent of payment for sex. The son lies in bed and closes his eyes. He has the vision of a naked child dripping water as if he just came out of a swimming pool. Time flies and his father is released from jail. His father is angry when he sees that the son bought a new car. He asks to stop and visit the other son: he died and is buried in a nearby cemetery (the child of the vision?) At home Eyup is annoyed that his mother's cell phone goes off all the time, singing that popular song. He picks up the phone and hears a man's voice who hangs up immediately. The phone goes off again when he confronts her about asking Servet for the money, something that Eyup senses was neither proper nor logical. He can't have sex with his wife because now he is tormented by doubt. When he meets Servet to get his money, Eyup says he has a question to ask but we don't hear it. Later, Hacer meets Servet in secret by the coast. She has honestly fallen in love with him, but he wants her to stop seeing him. He even threatens to kill her if she ever comes near him. She begs him in vain, even falling to her knees. He got what he wanted from her husband, he got what he wanted from her, and now he is not interested in that family anymore. Clearly, she has no desire to continue being the wife of a humble blue-collar worker, trapped in a small claustrophobic apartment. One night the police knock at the door. He and his wife are taken to the police station. Servet has been killed. The police inform Eyup that the last person to call Servet was his wife. The police clearly know about their extramarital affair. At home Eyup and Hacer do not talk. Their son breaks the silence: he did it. Eyup is lying on the bed and the dead son is caressing him. He hears his wife crying outside on the balcony and starts crying too. His wife is talking to their son. In the next scene they are all three in the same room, speechless, thinking what to do next. He sends his son to sleep, refuses to talk to his wife, gets dressed and leaves the house. He walks alone in a dark alley, sits down in a mosque where others are praying, and in the morning knocks at the door of a poor acquaintance. Ironically, Eyup now uses his money (the money he got from Servet) to bribe a poor man, Bayram, into confessing to Servet's murder and going to jail for his son. Eyup even explains that prisons have heat and food, which obviously Bayram must be short of. Then he climbs to the roof of his house and watches silently as a thunderstorm moves in. A train rides by (a cryptic recurring theme throughout the film).
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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Bir Zamanlar Anadoluda/ Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011), photographed by Gokhan Tiryaki, is a lengthy meditation on ordinary life disguised as a travelogue (over one night and one morning) in search of a murder's corpse. The body that they are looking for is perhaps the meaning of life itself; when they find it, they only find more mysteries. We gradually learn that the main characters are all losers: the doctor is divorced, the prosecutor's wife committed suicide, the police chief's son is terminally ill. The object of the autopsy is ordinary life itself, and it inevitably reveals some dirt. There is much DeOliveira and some Angelopoulos in this slow and laconic meditation that mostly relies on visual clues.
There is a comic undercurrent that highlights incompetence and backwardness: a car breaks down, the driver has no map, the electricity goes off, nobody took a body bag, the morgue has no adequate equipment, etc. There are moments when the ineptitude of the searchers almost turns the tragedy into a slapstick comedy. This failure of the system extends to the murder itself: nobody seems interested in finding out the motive of the murder, even if it gets more and more obvious that there might be a bigger story of abuse and adultery hiding under the surface, nor in punishing the murderers, who don't look too sorry anyway. The whole story is just a procedural affair: they need a body to close the case. So the film is both an hermetic metaphysical study and a realist comedy. The camera watches three men sitting at a table, drinking and chatting.
Three cars stop in the countryside at sunset, their passengers looking for something that is not there. They move on to another location. In a car there are five people, three cops (the middle-aged chief Naci, his driver Arab and an assistant) who discuss buffalo yogurt, a doctor named Cemal, and a handcuffed man named Kenan who doesn't talk. This one has confessed to a murder and now has to show where the corpse is, but he can't remember. In another car are a middle-aged prosecutor named Nusret, wearing a suit and tie, and a second handcuffed suspect. The third car is a jeep with two armed soldiers. The three cars keep driving through the landscape in the middle of the night. Every now and then they stop to look for the cadaver, but the murderer seems to have no clue about the burial site. His excuse: he was drunk when he committed the crime.
Sometimes they walk through the fields and the hills. Sometimes they listen to the distant thunder. Sometimes they talk about health and death. The police chief complains that his boy is chronically ill. During yet another stop in the middle of nowhere, he chats with the young doctor, who is divorced. The prosecutor comments that the world has become senseless. He mentions a beautiful woman who predicted the exact day of her own death. The wind blows dead leaves around them. The police chief loses his patience and kicks the murderer. The prosecutor stops him and pulls him aside to have a frank talk. The camera, as if bored, follows an apple that dropped into a creek and is drifting downstream until it gets caught in vegetation.
Tired, the team decides to head for a nearby village where they can spend the night. Arab is not excited because that village happens to be his wife's village. The mayor offers them food and complains with the prosecutor that the village doesn't have a proper morgue and needs to fix the cemetery: it is all about the dead. Then he mentions that there are only old people left, the young ones have emigrated, including his own sons. The electricity goes off and they are left in the dark. The mayor calls his daughter Cemile to bring the lamps. She walks in without a smile and without a word, carrying a tray with a lamp and several glasses of tea, which she serves to the men, as they, one by one, captivated by her beauty, stare at her face. She doesn't utter a word, or make any noise, passing by like a ghost, or, better, an angel; but seeing her makes the murderer evoke the guest of the dead man in terror.
The doctor coldly comments that it is a pity that such a beautiful woman is trapped in that village for life. He and the prosecutor restart the discussion over the woman who predicted her own death. The prosecutor knows too many details and we begin to suspect that the woman was his wife and that she committed suicide.
Kenan tells the police chief that the dead man's son is actually his son. Wind and thunder announce a storm. The girl hurries out to pick up the clothes that she left to dry. The chief is suddenly friendly to the murderer and offers him a cigarette.
In the morning they resume their journey and search. Arab the driver is still thinking aloud about the mayor's daughter. The others don't reply but probably think the same. Kenan stops the convoy and this time he is certain of the place where he buried the victim. The chief is furious when they see that the murderers tied the man like a pig before dumping him in the earth. The accomplice cries that he's the one who committed the murder, but Kenan tells him to shut up. The prosecutor follows procedure and dictates the report. The prosecutor even cracks a joke and is flattered that he looks like a Hollywood star. Finally the corpse is untied but they forgot to bring a body bag and they realize that all the cars have the trunk full. Six or seven of them haul the body up and squeeze him into a trunk; and Arab tosses in three melons he picked in the nearby field. On the way back Arab comments that the dead man was not a good man. The cars descend on the sleeping village and drive through the empty streets. Relatives and friends of the dead are waiting in a parking lot. When the body is pulled out of the trunk, the mob starts shouting at the murderers and the police has to intervene to avoid a lynching. Kenan stares at the dead man's wife across the mob. Her little son, his eyes full of hatred, grabs a rock and throws it, hitting Kenan in the face. Kenan stares at him petrified (this is his own son). We are left with the suspicion that the dead man may have been abusive to his wife, and that this may have led to her affair with Kenan, and to the murder for which Kenan is too anxious to take the blame.
Back to the city, they are all tired. The doctor, alone in his studio, watches pictures of his ex-wife. He stares outside the window, and then he stares straight into the camera. He has a secret that never comes out. The police chief tells the doctor that he keeps working because he cannot stand the tension at home with his son always sick. The doctor walks to the morgue. In the hallway the beautiful wife of the dead man is waiting. The prosecutor visits the doctor and they discuss the dead woman again. The prosecutor admits that her husband cheated on her but claims that she forgave him. The doctor insists that the woman probably committed suicide to punish the husband; and finally the prosecutor calls her "my wife". They walk into the room where the autopsy is about to begin. The wife is called in and she recognizes the dead body. The prosecutor leaves and the doctor begins the autopsy, described in excruciating details. Everything looks normal until they find dirt in the lungs. The assistant has no doubt tht the man was buried alive (which also explains why he was tied up by the murderer) but the doctor decides to lie in the report that nothing abnormal was discovered. Summed up with the fact that the murderers couldn't remember the location where they had buried the body, the fact that the victim was buried alive would reopen the case. The doctor watches from the window as the widow and her boy leave the precinct towards the schoolyard where children are playing. The doctor suspects something but doesn't say anything.
(The three people of the first scene were the two murderers and the victim).
(Translation by/ Tradotto da Marco Spagnuolo)

Bir Zamanlar Anadoluda/ C’era una volta in Anatolia (2011),  con fotografia ad opera di Gorkhan Tiryaki, e’ una lunga meditazione sulla vita ordinaria ma travestito da un diario di viaggio (della durata di una notte e un giorno) in cerca del cadavere di un omicidio. Il corpo che stanno cercando e’ forse il significato della vita stesso; quando riescono a trovarlo, scoprono solo che vi sono altri misteri. Gradualmente riusciamo a capire che i personaggi principali sono tutti dei fallitti: il medico e’ divorziato, la moglie dell’accusato si suicida, il figlio del capo della polizia e’ un malato terminale. L’oggetto dell’autopsia e’ la vita ordinaria stessa, ed inevitabilmente rivela qualcosa di sudicio. In questa silenziosa e laconica meditazione vi e’ molto di DeOliveira e qualcosa di Angelopoulos che si basa per lo piu’ su indizi visive. Vi e’ una sottile vena comic ache mette in risalto l’incompetenza e l’aretratezza: un automobile con i freni rotti, l’autista che non ha una mappa, l’elettricita’ praticamente assente, nessuno che si preoccupa di prendere una borsa per il corpo, l’obitorio non ha l’attrezzatura necessaria, ecc. Ci sono momenti in cui l’inettitudine dei personaggi si trasforma dalla tragedia in una commedia degli equivoci. Questo fallimento del Sistema si estende all’assassino stesso: nessuno sembra  interessato a capire il movente che ha spinto all’omicidio, anche se appare sempre piu’ ovvio che i tre potrebbero avere alle spalle una piu’ seria storia di abuso e adulterio nascosta sotto la facciata delle loro vite, ne nel punire gli assassin, che non sembra neanche scusarsi piu’ di tanto. L’intera storia e’ solo un affare procedurale: hanno bisogno di un corpo per chiudere il caso. Il film si rivela, quindi, sia uno studio ermetico-metafisico sia una commedia realistica.

La camera ci mostra tre uomini seduti ad un tavolo intendi a bere e chiacchierare. Le auto si fermano nella campagna al tramonto, le persone in auto cercano qualcosa che pero’ non si trova li. Allora decidono di andare da altra parte. In una automobile ci sono cinque persone, tre poliziotti (Naci il capo di mezza eta’, il suo autista Arab e un assistente) che discutono  sul gusto dello yogurt con latte di bufala, Cemal un giovane medico ed un uomo ammanettato di nome Kenan che pero’ non parla. Costui ha confessato un omicidio ed ora deve mostrare dove ha messo il corpo, ma non lo ricorda. In una seconda automobile vi sono l’accusatore di mezz’età di nome Nusret che indossa giacca e cravatta, ed un secondo uomo ammanettato. La terza automobile e’ un fuoristrada con due soldati armati. Le automobile continuano la loro strada attraverso il paesaggio dell’Anatolia nel cuore della notte. Ad ogni fermata cercano il cadaver, ma l’assassino sembra non avere idea di dove sia il lugo in cui ha nascosto il cadaver. La sua scusa: era ubriaco quando ha commesso il crimine.

Di tanto in tanto camminano attraverso i campi e le colline. Qualche volta ascoltano qualche tuono in lontananza. Qualche volta parlano della vita e della morte. Il capo della polizia si lamenta che ormai il suo corpo e’ affetto da una malattia cronica. Durante l’ennesima fermata da qualche parte, rivela al giovane medico, che e’ divorziato. L’accusatore comment ache il mondo e’ diventato senza senso. Cita una bellissima donna che gli ha predetto il giorno esatto della sua morte. Il vento soffia le foglie morte tutte intorno a loro. Il capo della polizia, spazientito, prende a calci l’assassino. L’accusatore lo ferma e lo allontana dovendogli parlare apertamente.

La telecamera, come se fosse annoiata, inizia a seguire una mela che e’ caduta in un ruscello e va alla deriva verso la valle finche’ non rimane intrappolata tra la vegetazione. Stanco, il gruppo decide di ristorarsi presso un villaggio vicino dove trascorrono la notte. Arab non ne e’ molto convinto perche’ quell villaggio gli sembra quello di suo moglie. Il sindaco offre loro del cibo e si lamenta con l’accusatore che il villaggio non ha un proprio obitorio edh anno necessita’ di aggiustare il cimitero: e’ tutto sui morti. Poi menziona che ormai sono rimaste solo persone anziane, i giovani sono emigrati, compresi i suoi figli. L’elettricita’ e’ da tempo fuori uso e sono rimasti completamente al buio. Il sindaco chiama sua figlia Cemile per portargli delle lampade. Cemile cammina senza mostra un sorriso o proferir parola, portando un vassoio con una lampada ed alcune tazze di te’, che serve agli ospiti, mentre tutti loro sono quasi rapiti dalla sua bellezza.

Lei non parla, non emette un fiato, cammina quasi come se fosse un fantasma, o meglio un angelo; ma vedendola l’assassino gli torna in mente lo spettro del morto.

In maniera distaccata il medico comment ache e’ una pena vedere una cosi’ bella donna intrappolata in quell povero villaggio per tutta la vita. Lui e l’accusatore riprendono la discussion riguardo la donna che gli ha predetto la sua morte esatta.

L’accusatore conosce troppi dettagli e cominciamo a sospettare che la donna era sua moglie che poi si e’ suicidata. Kenan racconta al capo della polizia che il figlio del morto e’ in realtà suo figlio. Venti e tuoni annunciano una tempest. La ragazza si affretta a togliere i panni che aveva lasciato ad asciugare. Il capo della polizia diventa improvvisamente amichevole con l’assassino e gli offre addirittura una sigaretta. La mattina seguente riprendono il viaggio e la ricerca. Arab l’autista sta ancora pensando ad alta voce alla figlia del sindaco. Gli altri non rispondono ma probabilmente pensano la stessa cosa. Kenan invita a fermare le auto questa volta e’certo del luogo dove ha seppellito la vittima. Il capo della polizia e’ furioso quando vedono che gli assassin hanno legato l’uomo come un maiale prima di gettarlo sottoterra. Il complice urla dicendo che egli e’ l’unico responsabile dell’omicidio, ma Kenan lo zittisce. L’accusatore segue la procedura e detta il rapporto. L’accusatore scherzo persino ed e’ lusingato a tal punto da sentirsi una specie di star di Hollywood. Alla fine slegano il corpo ma hanno dimenticato di portare una borsa per il cadaver e che tutte le auto sono piene. Sei o sette di loro trasportano il cadavere e lo infilano dentro un camioncino; e Arab getta i tre meloni che aveva preso in un campo vicino. Sulla strada del ritorno Arab commenta che il morto non era un buon uomo. Le auto sendono verso un villaggio che appare disabitato e le strade sono praticamente vuote.Amici e parenti del morto stanno aspettando nel parcheggio. Quando il cadavere e’ fatto uscire dal camioncino, la folla di amici e parenti inveiscono contro gli assassin e la polizia deve intervenire per evitare il linciaggio. Kenan intravede la moglie del morto tra la folla. Il suo piccolo bambino, I suoi occhi sono pieni di odio, afferra una pietra e gliela getta, colpendo in faccia Kenan. Kenan di fronte  alui e’ pietrificato (a maggior ragione che egli e’ suo figlio). Rimaniamo con il sospetto che il morto avesse fatto violenza verso la moglie, e questo sia il motive che abbia spinto la donna ad una relazione con Kenan, e all’omicidio per il quale Kenan e’ troppo ansioso di prendersene la colpa. Tornati in citta’, sono tutti molto stanchi. Il medico, solo nel suo studio, guarda la foto della sua ex-moglie. Rimane con lo sguardo fisso alla finestra,e poi va dritto verso la camera. Egli nasconde un segreto. Il capo della polizia  racconta al medico che lui continua a lavorare perche’ non riesce a sostenere la tensione che vi e’ nella sua casa con suo figlio sempre malato. Il medico va verso l’obitorio. Lungo il corridoio vediamo la moglie del morto in attesa. L’accusatore fa visita al medico e discutono della donna del morto nuovamente. L’accusatrice ammette che suo marito l’ha tradita ma che lo aveva perdonato. Il medico insiste che la donna ha commesso il suicidio probabilmente per punire il marito; e finalmente l’accusatore la chiama “mia moglie”. Camminano verso la stanza dove si tiene l’autopsia. La moglie viene invitata ad entrare e lei riconosce il cadavere. L’acusatore va via e il medico inizia l’autopsia, descrivendo I dettagli piu’ scabrosi. Tutto appare normale fin quando non trovano qualcosa di sporco nei reni. L’assistente non ha dubbi che l’uomo e’ stato seppellito vivo (la qual cosa spiega il motivo per cui gli assassini lo avessero legato) ma il medico decide di mentire scrivendo nel rapporto che non aveva trovato nulla di strano durante l’autopsia. In sintesi il fatto che gli assassin non riuscivano a ricordare il luogo dove avessero nascosto il cadaver, il fatto che la vittima fosse stata seppellita viva, avrebbero fatto riaprire il caso. Il medico guarda dalla finestra mentre la vedova e suo figlio escono dal distretto e vanno verso il campetto dove stanno giocando I bambini. Il dottore sospetta qualcosa ma non dice nulla.

(I tre uomini della prima scena erano i due assassini e la vittima.)

Kis Uykusu/ Winter Sleep (2014) is the sombre elegiac character study of a failed lonely aging intellectual, a former actor who is accused of being hypocritical and insincere by the two women who know him best, his wife and his sister. He is also a wealthy and selfish bourgeois in a region of very poor people. And he is madly jealous of a young teacher how is very poor but shares his wife's ideals. The film is very long because it includes lengthy bitter dialogues that begin politely and increase the degree of cruelty until they create irreversible acrimony. These conversations constitute psychological autopsies of people who have wasted their lives and have, to some extent, already died. Ironically, the one who resurrects is the selfish protagonist, who at the end accepts his condition and sets out to finally write his book, a book that probably nobody cares about. His sister, instead, is a hopeless case, as is his wife, both parasites. The philanthropist wife, who doesn't need to earn the money she spends, is equally hypocritical: she refuses to help the girl who wants to build a school because the girl wrote to her husband, therefore it's not part of her own project, which means that this generous wife really cares for her own gratification and not for poor people in general. The sister is so desperate that would rather go back to her ex-husband than to continue living in the village with nothing to do. There is a sort of Ingmar Bergman-ian spirit in the tension of their conversations. There is also a bit of Theodoros Angelopulos in the role of the geography: they all live in caves, which is perhaps a metaphor for their feelings being primordial human attributes. There are also echoes of Anton Chekhov's stories "Excellent People" (1886) and "The Wife" (1892) in the veiled cruelty of their interactions. The violence is muted: a child throws a stone that breaks a car's window in order to avenge his father's humiliation, but nobody gets injured; his father burns a large sum of money in front of the woman who donated it to rescue his family from poverty, but doesn't touch the woman; a horse is captured in a river, and seems to echo the condition of the young wife, but is eventually released in the wild, a fate that is much harder for the wife to adopt. A traditional village in Turkish Cappadocia rises from the misty countryside. A wealthy hotel owner Aydin comes back from mushroom hunting. One young Turkish guest of the hotel inquires about horses: Aydin replies that there are wild horses but he doesn't own one. Then in his studio he checks articles on horses, and later he asks his general manager Hidayet to drive him to a specialist who captures wild horses. On the way back an angry child stares at him: Hidayet informs him that he is the son of a tenant who hasn't paid rent. Hidayet tells Aydin that he is being too nice and the tenants are taking advantage. Just then the child a throws rock and breaks a window of their truck. Hidayet runs after him and catches him after the child falls in the river. They take the child, Ilyas, to his father Ismail, the tenant who is behind in rent. Hidayet wants to know why the child threw the rock but he refuses to say it. Ismail breaks his own window to get even. His brother Hamdi stops Ismail who wants to attack Hidayet. Hamdi apologizes with Aydin and promises to pay for the broken window. He just complains why they sent a debt collector when the family is having a hard time. Aydin is not really paying attention. Back at the hotel Aydin welcomes new foreign guests in English. Aydin writes a periodic column in the local newspaper. He is typing it while his sister Necla reads on the couch. Aydin complains to his sister Necla that the tenants don't keep the garden tidy and beautiful. His sister asks him why he writes for a local newspaper that nobody reads. Aydin's old friend Suavi comes to visit. He is a widower and his daughter married an Englishman and lives in England. He mentions that Aydin's wife Nihal is much younger than Aydin. Aydin tells Suavi that a girl from a poor village, after reading his column, has written a letter asking for help: she wants to build a school for women. Aydin wants his wife's advice too, since she is engaged in philanthropy. Nihal is skeptic. She helps many schools for children that badly need the same kind of help, and doesn't think that this school for women is a priority. Suavi also advises Aydin to let it go and to accept that poverty is a fact of nature. Hamdi comes to visit him. He explains that the child was avenging the humiliation suffered by his father Ismail when the debt collector came and used violence to take their TV set and refrigerator. Hamdi wants to pay for the window but, when he is told how much it costs, he doesn't have the money. Hamdi tells Aydin that his older brother Ismail cannot find a job because he is an ex-convict. Hamdi begs Aydin to stop the eviction process. They have been in the house ever since they were born, tenants of Aydin's father before he died. Aydin writes about Islam as a religion of high culture, but also vents his disappointment in his tenants, who don't live up to high culture. One day Necla comes up with a theory that evil should not be opposed: letting evil people do their evil deeds gives them a chance to regret what they did. Aydin is shocked but Nihal defends Necla's theory. Hamdi comes back with the boy while the three are eating. The two women are kind to Hamdi, who walked a long way because they don't even have a motorcycle. Hamdi can't get married because he doesn't have money. He brought the child to apologize. Hamdi begs the child to kiss Aydin's hand but the child refuses and instead faints. Aydin receives a wild horse captured by the specialist. Necla is mean to a maid who broke two glasses, not exactly what she preached about forgiving evil deeds. But Necla feels honestly guilty that she didn't forgive her ex-husband Necdet when he became alcoholic and mistreated her. Necla has regrets divorcing him. Maybe if she had accepted his mistreatment, he would have eventually felt remorse. She did nothing wrong but she thinks of asking him to forgive her, hoping that this will awaken his conscience. Nihal rolls her eyes. Aydin talks to the Turkish guest who has a motorcycle and likes to explore the landscape in winter. The guest is writing his notes and some day wants to publish them as a book. Aydin tells him that he too is writing a book, a history of Turkish theater. He has done all the research now he needs to write it. He used to be an actor for 25 years. While he's writing his new article, Necla starts criticizing him. She reminds him that everybody was expecting great things from him, but he failed to meet those expectations: he simply inherited his father's fortune. Aydin is trying to write a followup to his previous article about spiritual values, but Necla accuses him of being hypocritical and insincere, especially since he rarely set foot in a mosque, and of being cruel to the poor Hamdi. She is bored and regrets having left Istanbul for that isolated village, living in their parental house. She used to do translations. She accuses him to be false like an actor. He accuses her of being lazy. She has no friends Later he visits a tomb in the cemetery. Nihal organizes a meeting without telling him. Aydin is surprised but chats with his friend Suavi who has also been invited. The meeting's goal is to collect donations to renovate schools. Nihal is organizing the project with a young teacher, Levent. It starts snowing outside. Nihal asks Aydin to leave: it's her project, and it took one year of hard work to get to this meeting, and she doesn't want Aydin to screw up the project. He is hurt and leaves the house, watching the meeting through the window. The Turkish kid leaves the hotel for new adventures. Aydin offers to make a contribution to Nihal's project, but she resents that he is interfering with her life. She threatens to leave him. He challenges her to go and find a job. She feels useless, a parasite. He accuses her of being ungrateful that she never had to work. He suspects that she is being used by Levent. He thinks that she is naive and the others are rascals and want to take advantage of her. He offers to take care of her donations business. Nihal feels that he is interfering and even stealing her project. She has a nervous breakdown and throws all her papers at him. She gets so angry at him that he decids to travel to Istanbul for a while. The hotel is not busy in winter anyway. He asks her what he is guilty of. She lives independently in her own quarters. He tells her she's free to divorce him. She accuses him of being selfish, of suffocating and humiliating people. She accuses him of contradictions, of hating everybody. She feels she wasted her best years and became a nothing. She too accuses him of being a good actor, of pretending to be a good person. This donation activity is the first thing that makes her feel meaningful. Before leaving, Aydin leaves her an envelop full of money, his anonymous donation to her cause, and promises not to be back before spring. He tells her that he suspects the motives of the teacher but she replies that she suspects his motives, Aydin's. Necla doesn't talk to him either. It is snowing. Aydin opens the gate of the stable and lets the horse run away. Hidayet drives him to the train station in the snowstorm. When they get to the train station, Aydin changes his mind and asks to be taken to Suavi's village. Suavi is expecting Levent, also a single: they go hunting together. Aydin asks Hidayet not to tell anyone that he didn't take the train. Levent is 36 years old and didn't get married because he doesn't make enough money and sends most of the salary back home to his mother and sister. Now that Aydin is gone and Hidayet is not around, Nihal takes the car and visits Hamdi to find out if the child has recovered: he had pneumonia. She witnesses the ordinary life of the poor family. She asked Hamdi about Ismail, why was he in jail. Hamdi tells her that Ismail stabbed someone who insulted his wife, and now he has become introverted and alcoholic. She gives him the envelop full of money that Aydin gave her, enough to buy a house. Hamdi walks out of the room to get some tea for her. Ismail, alone with her, turns sarcastic about the money, accusing her to trying to clean her conscience. He burns the money in front of her. Nihal leaves in tears. Meanwhile Levent, Suadi and Aydin are still chatting and drinking in Suadi's isolated cabin. A drunk Levent hurts Aydin when he mentions that, after the earthquake, Aydin didn't open his hotel to the victims but instead reserved it for the international organiztions that paid him nicely for the rooms. They get into an argument but they are all drunk. Aydin vomits on the floor. The following morning they go hunting together in the snowy landscape. Aydin kills a rabbit. Then Hidayet drives Aydin home. Nihal watches him from the window. He thinks loving words for her but his pride keeps him from saying them. He knows that she doesn't love him anymore. He says "forgive me" in his mind but not aloud, and goes back to writing his book "The History of Turkish Theater". while the snow mercilessly isolates them from the rest of the world

The three-hour Ahlat Agaci/ The Wild Pear Tree (2018) is the story of two losers, father and son, both trying to escape the boredom of their condition, overflowinfg with all sorts of metaphors and allegories, all the way to the last scene where the son deliberately inherits his father's madness. In theory it is just a sequence of conversation pieces in which the young protagonist analyzes his own existential crisis until reaching closure with his fate, but each conversation is a piece of a puzzle that at end represents a fresco of the local inertia, from the selfish businessman to the bigot priest It has again something of Theodoros Angelopulos's cinema but mixed with the documentarian spirit of Federico Fellini's Amarcord and the philosophical picaresque format of Pier Paolo Pasolini's Uccellini e Uccellacci.

Sinan is a university student who just graduated and returns to his home village penniless. On the way home a shopkeeper tells him that his father Idris has not paid a bill for some gold. The father is a teacher but would love to raise goats and sheep, despite his wife Asuman's skepticism who sarcastically remarks that he lost his money gambling on horses. Sinan also has a younger sister, Yasemin. Sinan's father wants Sinan to help finish a well in the village where grandfather owns a farm. Grandfather is angry because he thinks the father is an idiot looking for water in a place where nobody ever found it. Sinan also visits his maternal grandparents, who are also upset at his father because of his pointless projects like the well and for losing money on horses. They know that the father owns money to the shopkeeper, but Sinan remarks that the shopkeeper is the one who hooked father into horses.
Sinan visits the town's mayor to see if the city can fund the publishing of his manuscript, an intimate confession that also talks about wild pear trees, unique to their region. The mayor cannot spend city money on a personal book but directs him to a man called Ilhami. He doesn't find Ilhami but meets a childhood friend, Hatice, who is wearing traditional Muslim clothes. She tells him that she stopped studying and now works in the fields. He tells her that he despises the narrow-minded people of that town and doesn't want to live there. She is hurt. She makes sure that nobody is watching them and then asks him to light a cigarette for her and removes her headscarf. She says a few melancholy sentences and then starts crying. She broke up with her old boyfriend Riza and confesses that now she has a new fiance, a jeweller, who will take her away, but then she suddenly kisses Sinan. We see a close up of her long hair as they kiss. She bits his lip and then runs away. Another day Sanin calls a friend who is in the police. They discuss how terrible life is in that town using a lot of curse words. The friend jokes about how they treat protesters with tear gases, water cannons and a bit of beating.
Sinan joins Hatice's ex fiance Riza and other friends to watch her wedding from a distance. They get in the car and Riza drives like a maniac to a lake. He gets off the car and accuses Sinan of having always been secretly in love with Hatice. Sinan talks back and they get into a fight. His father doesn't have money to pay for Sinan's travel back to university, where Sinan has to undergo an important state exam that will decide his career as a primary teacher. His mother gives him what small change she has and his father follows him begging him for money.
The exam didn't go well. While in the big city, Sinan walks into a bookstore to sell an old book and meets the most famous local writer, Suleyman. Sinan introduces himself as an aspiring writer, describing his first novel as an "auto-fiction meta-novel", but soon he begins to embarrass and upset Suleyman with his insinuations. Eventually, Suleyman shouts that he doesn't care about Sinan's literary theories and just wants to go home. On the bus back to his town he has a nightmare of being attacked inside the statue of Troy's horse that towers in his hometown. While he's walking back home a teacher who works with his father shouts insults to his father. Sinan finds his father in a bar popular with gamblers. At home he discusses his father's decline with his mother. His mother, while disappointed in his father, scolds Sinan for not being grateful that his father paid for his education. But later someone steals from his coat the money that Sinan earned from selling the old book and Sinan has no doubt who stole it.
Sinan finally finds the self-made business man Ilhami who has sponsored several cultural projects in town. Ilhami likes his book but they get into an argument over ethical values, and in any case Ilhami confesses that he sponsored cultural projects only to get valuable contracts from the city government. A high-school drop-out, Ilhami pities educated people and advises Sinan to get a regular job instead of dreaming of becoming a writer. Sinan seeks out his father's pal Ekrem, a young man who is a corrupting influence. They have an argument in a cafe and Ekrem leaves. Back home Sinan insults his father. His father is still working on the farm. Sinan takes a trip there and finds his father asleep under a tree (initially he thinks his father is dead and walks away). His father makes the mistake of saying that he has money to pay his workers, and it's obvious that this is the money that was stolen from his coat. His father guesses that Sinan is thinking of it and challenges him to say it loudly, but Sinan can't find the strength to accuse his father of stealing his money and walks away silently.
In the open countryside Sinan also meets two young imams, Veysel and Nazmi who are eating apples from an apple tree (a Biblical reference?) and the two imams gets into a debate about whether religion should adapt to the modern world or not. Sinan and the imams walk together discussing faith. Sinan remarks that atheistic countries have a lower crime rate. (The camera follows them as they walk into town, then shows them from the top of a hill). They sit at an outdoors cafe and discuss the function of religion. Veysel argues that religion maintains order, Sinan remarks that it also blinds people. When they talk about his father, who used to be a espected gentleman, Sinan seems to defend him or at least doesn't want the imams to judge him.
One day, since the family hasn't paid the bills, the city cuts off the electricity to their home. Sinan visits his father at the school with the intention to personally brings home his salary but his father claims that the money has not arrived. Sinan sees that, instead of teaching, his father was checking the horse races. Sinan doesn't care and returns home carrying with him the first copies of his book. His mother scolds him for not getting the money they need but then cries when she sees the book with a dedication to her. His mother reminisces how, at the age of 16, she was seduced by his father who was charming and educated. She confesses that, if she could do it again, even knowing that the man would become a good-for-nothing gambler, she'd marry him again. She now has to babysit to pay their debts. Meanwhile, his father is only concerned that his dog has disappeared. His mother comments that he cares more for the dog than for them. We understand that Sinan sold the dog to pay for publishing his book. It starts snowing.
We briefly see Sinan as a soldier in a distant and cold land (military service). Then we see him back home. His father has left the family and lives in his father's farm. We briefly see a dog running towards the river, jumping into the water and disappearing. Sinan finds out that his book has not sold a single copy, and that neither his mother nor his sister have read it. Sinan visits his father, who now lives as a shepherd in a humble room of the farm. His father is not there but Sinan finds his wallet and is moved to tears when he sees that his father keeps in the wallet the notice published in a newspaper of his book. Sinan falls asleep and dreams of a baby asleep, covered with ants, something that happened to his father when he was a baby, according to grandfather. Sinan helps his father transport some hay bales while it's snowing again. His father finally concedes that the well was a crazy idea: he abandoned the project and laughs at it. Sinan is pessimistic about his own future now that military service is over: he can become a teacher in a desolate village far away or find an ordinary job in town, neither an exciting prospect. His father mentions that he has read and enjoyed Sinan's book (so his father is the only person who has read it). He calls it "my best friend". His father discusses the jackals that haunt the hills. Then his father falls asleep and he seems to have a nightmare that Sinan has hanged himself in the well. He finds Sinan at the bottom of the well, digging where his father gave up.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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