A small, poor village leaning over high rocky mountains, facing the immense sea, flanked by olive yards. Villagers are simple and diligent people who struggle to cope with a harsh nature. ...
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A small, poor village leaning over high rocky mountains, facing the immense sea, flanked by olive yards. Villagers are simple and diligent people who struggle to cope with a harsh nature. They earn their living, on a daily survival basis, out of the earth and of a few animals they feed. Just like the animals and trees around them, they have the knowledge of their temporary existence, hence a sober resignation prevails. They live according to the rhythm of the earth, air and water, day and night and seasons. The daily time is divided into five parts by the sound of the call to prayer. Every day, all human events are lived through within these five time slices. In child raising, grownups go on with the practice they have experienced by their parents. They expose their love awkwardly and consider beating a favorable method. Fathers always prefer one of their sons. Mothers command their daughters ruthlessly. Ömer, Yakup and Yildiz, three children of about 12,13 years old, just between ...Written by
I pray every night. For him to die.
How's he going to die?
Out of sickness.
Has he not gotten better?
An accident, then.
Maybe he'd fall from the minaret!
A snake could bite him.
Even if it did, it wouldn't kill him.
Scorpion! Didn't uncle Halil's grandson die of a scorpion sting?
He was a baby, though.
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Relentlessly engaging; a beautifully filmed study of a divided society
Times and Winds is a portrait of family life in rural Turkey centred on the lives of three young children: Omer, Yakup and Yildiz. The village that they live in is a slightly ramshackle affair; many houses are showing their age and the cobble roads are worn and wonky. The surroundings, on the other hand, are sumptuously beautiful, ranging from lush green woodland to spectacular rocky cliffs and the gloriously shining sea. Director Reha Erdem uses Steadycam to track the characters as they travel through the village and the countryside, creating a sense that the little settlement and its grand surroundings are a seamless, congruous whole.
The village, however, is not a harmonious place: there is great distrust between different generations, from the oldest to the youngest, and Omer, Yakup and Yildiz are caught up in this. The three young children all earn the displeasure and disappointment of their elders, and in turn become disillusioned and resentful.
Omer's father, a local imam, is ever disappointed with his eldest son, and does little to hide his preference for Ali, Omer's bright younger brother. Omer begins to devise ways of killing his father, who is already suffering under the effects of a disease. Meanwhile, Yakup, Omer's close friend, is upbraided by his father, the muezzin, for trying to steal cigarettes, but finds to his dismay that he is being lectured by a moral hypocrite. The women in the village are not free from this futile cycle where the old alienate the young and the young resent the old: Yildiz, an intelligent young girl, has to look after her baby sibling on behalf of her mother, and suffers increasingly under the stress of this responsibility.
It is no wonder that in their complicated, unrewarding family lives these children yearn for an escape, and so they gather together in the wilderness around their village to plot and play and dream. Recurring images show the young children lying prone dead or asleep out in the wilderness, a sad reflection of a world where they already feel like a disappointment.
That is not to say that this is a wholly bleak portrait of life in rural Turkey. It is cheering to see the work done by the village committee members, who gather together to discuss pressing local issues. They condemn the beating of a local shepherd boy by his acting father and they organise the building of a new roof for an elderly lady as the winter sets in. There are also some very funny moments in Times and Winds, including the scenes where the children giggle over procreating animals. Even these scenes, however, are ultimately permeated with the same sadness found throughout the film: the boys catch the girls watching a pair of copulating horses and chase them away, in the belief that girls should not be allowed to see such things. In a place where religious figures such as the imam and the muezzin fall far short of the lofty ideals to which they aspire it is sad to see the wrong-headed behaviour inspired in these children.
The film finds the perfect accompaniment in the music of Finnish composer Arvo Part. The sombre, haunting strings that swell periodically throughout Times and Winds mingle with the sounds of nature and of everyday life, and fittingly reflect the torment of human relationships against the most serene and beautiful of backdrops. Though nearly two hours long and driven by only the loosest of plots, Times and Winds does not feel like a slow film. There are so many characters and incidents that the film can be a little confusing in places, but it is relentlessly engaging. Times and Winds is all the more remarkable film for having come seemingly out of nowhere and it will hopefully win some much-deserved attention for new Turkish cinema.
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