Passport Series 2018
The Wild Pear Tree (Ahlat Agaci)
Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan follows up his Palme d'Or winner Winter Sleep with this sweetly bitter drama. Sinan (Dogu Demirkol) just graduated from university and has returned to his parents' home in rural Turkey to take the exam to become a teacher and, more importantly, to try to get his first novel published. By turns frustrated by the circumstances of his return to the provinces and angry at his lot in life, particularly at his gambling-addicted father (Murat Cemcir, in a haunting performance), Sinan is a complex character who Ceylan also radiantly uses to illustrate the current economic depression, burgeoning consciousness of a young artist, place of religion in contemporary life, and relationship between a father and a son. Each of the film's many forays following Sinan is comprised of lushly staged, brilliantly acted, and convincingly scripted long dialogues; by the ending, the different themes are wrapped together in a way that is as stimulating as it is moving.
"…sensual and lyrical, tremendously well acted, heavy in visual and verbal metaphor, and so ablaze with pastoral beauty that the hillsides and forests seem to glow with their own amber light." (Robbie Collin, The Telegraph)
"Ceylan delivers what might be his funniest, most politically poignant work yet. It also happens to be achingly personal." (Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice)