When Hay was seven years old, he found a dead horse in an open field and watched his father and other adults struggle to get rid of it. Unsure of this memory, he is nonetheless very influenced by this incident and, when he cuts himself during a sacrificial rite, everything comes flashing back. Step by step, Hay goes down an inevitable and spiritual path where he confronts the relationship between human and nature, the unity of matter and the living.Written by
We must be at least 20 minutes into Tarik Aktas' reasonably short film before the title appears on the screen. "Dead Horse Nebula" won its director the Best Emerging Director prize at the Locarno Film Festival and it's certainly original. That long, slow opening sequence tells us nothing about which way this Turkish film might go. A boy finds a dead horse in a field, he pokes it and its guts spill out, (this isn't a film for the squeamish). The authorities are called and the animal is burned. It could be a documentary but we get the feeling these people are acting. What follows is almost impossible to get a handle on unless you read the synopsis.
Aktas certainly doesn't make it easy for us by dispensing with conventional narrative in favour of a series of seemingly unrelated incidents. If there is a prevailing theme, it's death, both of people and of animals and how we react to it or rather the almost casual way the characters in this film react to it. It's a gorgeously photographed film though its leisurely pace and almost total lack of a 'plot' won't appeal to everybody but as a vision of man's relationship with nature, and I suppose with himself, makes it both intriguing and beautiful and should indeed mark Aktas out as a director to watch.
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