Directed by: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Countries & Regions: Turkey
Length: 100 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 28 May 2007
Cat No: ART342DVD
Screen ratio 1:1.85
Dolby Digital 5.1
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Existentialist Turkish drama about a disparate couple over three seasons of their life together. University lecturer Isa (Nuri Bilge... Read More
Undoubtedly one of the finest films of the year, Climates comes after Ceylan's acclaimed Uzak and further develops the director's formally uncompromising vision of male ennui. As Ceylan himself has admitted, “the only worthwhile subject for a film is melancholy”.
The film chronicles the disintegration of the relationship between academic photographer Isa (played by Ceylan himself) and his (considerably younger) girlfriend, TV production designer Bahar (played by Ceylan's wife Ebru). Ceylan's formal approach to Climates, as for Uzak, is quite breathtaking and unmatched in any contemporary European filmmaker. Utilising sequence shots and minimal tracking, each meticulously composed frame is a quiet revelation.
Whilst the film ends in an austere, snow covered landscape, it begins in the blazing sunshine with Isa and Bahar holidaying on Turkey's southern coast. Isa is occupied with photographing a nearby archaeological site whilst Bahar looks on. The camera lingers on her as she gazes out to sea; slowly, tears begin rolling down her bronzed cheeks. The camera is bearing witness to a relationship on the verge of collapse.
Thematically, and in many ways, rhythmically, the film is very much in the tradition of Rossellini's Voyage to Italy and Antonioni's 'tetralogy of alienation' L'Avventura, La Notte, L'Eclisse and Il Deserto Rosso. Isa is a distinctly Antonionian male. Selfish and unsympathetic in the mould of Sandro in L'Avventura, he is outwardly successful and virile yet riven with crippling self-doubt.
Like Sandro, Isa embarks on an empty affair. In a highly ambiguous scene, he indulges in rough sex with Serap, the girlfriend of an acquaintance whom we have seen him meet just hours previously. Isa initially appears to force himself on her. The camera remains static with the couple in medium shot as they tumble to the floor from the sofa.
The film's sound design is also rigorously composed with sounds heightened for effect. Wholly original yet sensitive to its filmic antecedents, this is complex, ravishingly beautiful cinema.