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Cast & Crew
Director : Muzaffer Ozdemir
Producer : Muzaffer Ozdemir, Sadik Incesu
Screenwriter : Muzaffer Ozdemir
Starring : Kanbolat Gorkem Arslan, Muzaffer Ozdemir, Muhammet Uzuner, Pinar Unsal, Halil Kilic, Kerim Olgun, Ilhami Sibil
More of a thoughtful meditation than a narrative feature, this meandering Turkish odyssey is packed with profound issues rather than well-defined characters or plot. That said, it's also about one man's quiet determination to make sense of what humans have done to the planet. So more sensitive audiences will find it both beautiful and challenging.
But not a lot actually happens over the short 76-minute running time. Istanbul architect Dogan (Arslan) is having a creative block, so his boss (played by filmmaker Ozdemir) suggests that he take a holiday to return to his home town in the mountains of north-east Turkey. Dogan decides to do a bit of work photographing old watermills, but he discovers that the rivers have been transformed by corporations that are damming them and rerouting the water to cities. Old buildings are falling down, while formerly picturesque valleys fill up with apartment blocks and motorways. So his goal begins to shift, as he starts searching for just one place, or maybe one flower, that still exists in the same state as it did when he was a child.
Intriguingly, as Dogan's virtually wordless journey progresses, he encounters plenty of old-world locations and spectacular landscapes, but he struggles to see this because of his nostalgia. Mountains, forests and even glaciers have all been breached by roads, which to him means that they're doomed. So every glimmer of kindness he finds in this sea of suspicious people is like a ray of hope. While we never really know much about Dogan beyond his inner depression, Arslan lets us see into his thoughts simply by the way he quietly reacts to his experiences.
And it's difficult not to feel like he's overreacting just a little. Sure, there are scars of industry and capitalism across this ancient countryside, but it's still absolutely gorgeous. So we wonder whether filmmaker Ozdemir is being pessimistic, or is he trying to encourage us to accept that progress is necessary and that there's still plenty of beauty in the world. These ideas can of course be applied to any place on earth, as we all struggle against the push of change and the yearning for the perceived simplicity of the past. And it's to Ozdemir's credit that he touches on these ideas so lightly, sparking debate without telling us what to think.
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