Regarding the Turkish movie “Climates” by Nuri Bilge Ceylan; part of the main program of the 59th Cannes Film Festival, recipient of Critics’ Award “Fipresci”
#1 The Turkish movie “Climates” by Nuri Bilge Ceylan was completely different from the other movies at this year Cannes Film Festival. This film was probably the only unpretentious one, without politics, history, or contemporary problems: it is a personal, “small” movie, yet a release that touched everyone with its subject. Although it seemed as a unambitious movie in the Cannes surrounding, Ceylan proved that nevertheless, a beautiful movie can be made; a movie that penetrates deep into human nature and within its uncertain and ambiguous character. Finally, it is an everlasting problem and an eternal question; it can never lose its weight, especially when it comes to a talented author and real artist. Moreover, Ceylon even won the Critics’ Award “Fipresci”: completely based on his merit, defying other releases and proving his superiority.
#2 “Climates” deals with human nature which is always in touch with its surrounding and the nature. The seasons in this movie are just bringing colors, scents, nostalgia and atmosphere, which in fact tells the simple story about Isa (Nuri Bilge Ceylan) and Bahar (Ebru Ceylan): about their incapability to be happy despite all preconditions, about their inability to be complete when together, and yet unhappy when apart. In fact, this beautifully pictured movie, using loads of vivid colors and emotional games, often speaks about vague reasons and our inability to find ourselves, about our inaptitude to accept the happiness as is, finding a challenge in the realm of greater provocation. What is it, Ceylan asks the question, that makes man complicate his life absolutely unnecessary; what makes us alive, or deprives us of our will. With these questions, Ceylan superbly opens his movie, next to the ruins and remains of some old buildings, where everything begins, everything repeats and ends. The beautiful Bahar, despite her ancient beauty, quietness and perfection, feels the entire disturbance inside herself, faced deep inside with the inevitable end and the fact that there is nothing she could do about it.
#3 Made in a quite straightforward way, “Climates” is in fact a movie of strong emotions, inquiries, powerful inner turmoil and search for oneself. Serap (Nazan Kesal) is a girlfriend of Isa’s friend, as well as his ex girlfriend. She is still provocative; she still stirs Isa’s passion and his wild side. Yet, neither does that place bring tranquility, nor does the game, the madness, the devotion, or the forbidden. The tranquility remains unreachable, sketched in the old excavations, drafted in seasons, even in their inevitable changes; tranquility is what we yearn for, yet we can not recognize it. Is that the eternal human quest for perfection, love, belonging…
The movie is in part a bit strange – emphasizing beautiful pictures and landscapes, then slowly discovering the disturbance rooted deep within its characters: it reveals anticipation and fear, loneliness and suspense, which appear despite being together with one another. It is an interesting game between nature and man, the perfect and the imperfect, the simplicity and the complexity, the clear and the vague. In this movie there are no outbursts, no accusation, there are no quarrels or dramatic departures and returns. On the contrary, the only ‘outburst’ is the unexpected destructive desire that all of a sudden rises with Bahar, when in a second she is ready to kill them both. However, everything continues as if nothing had happened, everything continues in same order, along same track…
#4 Just as it happens in the nature and within surprising changes of seasons, that bring the storm and wipe everything away, and then everything is quiet as if nothing had happened. Yet, is that so? The suspense remains despite the beautiful sun rays and the calm sea, despite the magnificent reflection and unique colors. The angst knows that yet everything may be different, and the angst remains.
What is it that that drives a human to seek for more, to seek difference, to be disturbed when everything is alright, or to be completely calm when things are out of control? What is it that that brings eternal disturbance and incomprehension to one self and to the others?
In fact, Ceylan in “Climates” pictures Isa’s round trip: he is an archeologist that at one moment, on a beautiful summer day, decides to ruin everything and start anew. He tries to recognize within himself the moment that he seeks for and which he would most likely find this time. Alas, he returns to his ex girlfriend and wild passion, which is insufficient; he returns, following the seasons, to Bahar again, this time ready to change everything, yet just until the next moment, when he would go back again, and so on. The change of the seasons is not accidental: it is an expression of the nature, of natural laws and needs. It is a cycle that provides and regenerates life. There is a remarkable parallel with human nature, which can not live without challenge, changes, disturbance and provocation, without perpetual quest… In fact, there is a beautiful allusion in that question, there is painful truth in the un-devotion, in the eternal discontent, and there is strong suspense in perfection. What is the meaning of it all but the end of the road; what is the meaning of tranquility, what is the meaning of acceptance and affiliation? If the apparent lack of reasons for disturbance is real, as the disturbance is rooted in our nature, in the human nature that always drives one forward?
#5 “Climates” was a different movie whose quiet unpretentiousness told us that there are eternal questions and eternal beauty within art. There are simple, human themes that always deserve our attention. There are unpretentious questions that may be even harder than history, injustice, pain, and suffering. There are questions with simplicity too small or too heavy, depending on the skills of the author. Yet, one thing is certain: tranquility depends on our ability to find ourselves within them. “Climates” brought disturbance much more than the strong, authentic, documentary stories, because it is a fact that they are transient, and human nature and its (im)perfection is eternal.
Translated by: Igor Isakovski