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Monday, May 16, 2011

Times and Winds (2006)

Reha Erdem, director of Times and Winds, photographed in his home village of Kozlu, Turkey

Bes Vakit (Times and Winds), made by Reha Erdem in 2006.

A tiny poor village of a few hundreds, surrounded by rocky cliffs. Goats and olive trees, as everywhere in the region. The Black Sea can be seen from the cliffs, having the changing color of the sky, gray when it's windy, blue when it's sunny. Poverty of the place continuing in the majesty of the landscape, village life mastered by the moods of nature. The five times of prayer, midnight, morning, noon, afternoon, evening, are just brief moments to realize that you are at the mercy of what time brings.

This is Kozlu, the birthplace of Turkish director Reha Erdem, and Bes Vakit (Times and Winds, made in 2006) is about this village and these cliffs, about the moods of weather and the times of prayer, and about these people.

It is a movie full of love for this universe while devoid of any sentimentalism. The magnificent surroundings, the cliffs and the sea in close distance, pictured with awe, the poor village pictured with love, you feel this tenderness flowing from the screen; where the movie becomes unsentimental is when picturing the moods of people. They are his people, the guys of his village, the director is one of them, it is his universe. It is here love and lucidity. From the elders to the young, they are too challenged by these times and winds, to find space for kindness to one another. The elders are authoritative to the point of arbitrariness, the children grow up feeling the unfairness of the elders, hating them, childishly wishing their death. Three children of some eleven, twelve years are the main characters of this movie. On the threshold of puberty, a coming of age through frustration and resentment, balanced eventually by the miracles of nature they are witnessing. The unexpected coming and going of storms and winds will slowly teach them about the relativity of everything. The animal mating will be an abrupt lesson about the ultimate simplicity of love. The birth of a baby will show them the beauty of life despite all odds. The approaching of death of the father will make the boy suddenly and painfully realize what fear means, the terrible fear of loosing his father, how stupid his hate has been, his wish to see him dead.

And the five times of prayer will go on, alternating day and night, storm and beautiful weather, birth and death, good and bad.

(Turkish Cinema)


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