UK release date: 9 February 2007

cast list

Ebru Ceylan
Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Nazan Kesel
Mehmet Eryilmaz
Can zbatur
Arif Asi
Semra Yilmaz

directed by
Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Climates is Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s forth feature length film. It is a tale of a faltering marriage, in which the director has cast himself as the lead male Isa. His real-life wife Ebru Ceylan plays Bahar, the female lead.

Isa is in his 40s and is a university lecturer in Istanbul while his wife Bahar, at least 10 years his junior, is the artistic director of a TV series. We join the couple while on holiday in the paradisical coastal setting of Kas in Southern Turkey. But the dire condition of the couple’s relationship – not to mention their individual emotional lives – is in stalk contrast to the beauty and expansiveness of landscape around them.

Nuri Bilge Ceylan’style of filmaking is unreservedly minimalist and deals with existentialist topics, so it is rather lucky all round that I am an unreserved fan of these forms of cinema. This declaration should also serve as a warning: this won’t be agreeable viewing for everyone, but those with a taste for this type of cinema will find much to their satisfaction in this honest and thought provoking film.

The lengthy pre-credits opening scene, with a single shot over 2 minutes long, feels almost like a challenge from the director – a preliminary test of his audience’s patience and perseverance. Irrespective of this, the scene is quite brilliantly acted and is a courageous and expertly timed opening which sets the tone for the film’s alluring first segment. Ebru Ceylan’s somberly beautiful face performs lets the audience into the most private of her character’s emotions before barely a word is spoken in film.

With such sparse dialogue, the narrative of the film is dependent on the cinematography and editing – which suggests a well unified artistic vision among its makers. The directing is often playful, entwining the subjective viewpoints of the characters with the objective viewpoint of the observing narrative by using simple but effective editing tricks.

The cinematography also deserves huge credit. Each shot – which often runs for the length of a scene – seems to have been meticulously crafted. Many are taken from surprising yet pleasing angles which take full advantage of any natural symmetry in the landscape or interior (one suspects that the director’s dual career as a photographer has some influence here).

A beautifully crafted piece of cinema – well worth catching if it’s your kind of thing.

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