Dir: Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Turkey. 1999. 130mins.
Prod co: NBC Ajans. Int'l sales: Keriman Ulas Ulusoy (33 1 48 87 36 26). Scr, DoP, Prod des, Ed: Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Main cast: Ermin Ceylan, Muzzafer Ozdemir, Ermin Toprak, Muhammed Zimbaoglu, Sadik Inescu, Ebru Yapici.
Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan evokes the spirit of Chekhov's Cherry Orchard in this film set in a small village in contemporary Anatolia. With little action and dialogue punctuated with long silences, this is a sensitive and subtle film that will touch chords with upscale crowds. Already sold to several European territories (including Norway, Spain and Italy), the film screened in competition at Berlin and is likely to resurface on the festival circuit throughout the year.
Muzzafer Ozdemir plays an Istanbul filmmaker, who returns to his parents' home to make a low-budget film in which his parents will star. While claiming that he wants to capture the life of the village, his obsession with his film makes him blind to the daily events that really matter to the people who live there.
Ceylan made the film as a sort of confession to repent for his behaviour making his 1998 film The Small Town (Kasaba) and the fact that he uses his real parents playing themselves adds to its poignancy and honesty. This is a lyrical film full of quiet moments and understated charm that captures both the boredom and beauty of the Turkish countryside.