Climates (15)

Written and Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Screening at FACT from 8th-11th March 2007

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This is a brutally realistic depiction of a break-up of a relationship. At times it is almost too painful to watch, partly because it recalls similar situations I (and I'm sure a lot of the audience) have been embroiled in.

Director Nuri Bilge Ceylan ('Uzak') plays the role of the male protagonist, Isa, while his real-life wife, Ebru, is equally impressive as his tormented girlfriend, Bahar. The coldness and antipathy between them on screen is at times harrowing. Why are they still together? Afraid to be alone? Afraid to be without a partner? Surely being on your own - which is not necessarily the same as being lonely - must be better than enduring this tortured experience.

Isa continues attempting to win back the affections of Bahar, despite loss of self respect, despite the loss of respect towards him from Bahar, despite, despite.....But ultimately it is doomed to failure. There is no chance of reconciliation, even though near the end of the film, when she visits him in his dingy hotel room, there promises to be a thawing of their own personal cold war.

The film raises lots of questions, not only about the fragility of relationships, but also the ever-increasing alienation in the world, loss of spiritual values, and chronic loneliness.

But it is not a film that will lead you to slit your wrists. The photography of Ceylan is beautiful at times, notably his lingering landscape shots, the beguiling shots of snow falling (absolutely gorgeous) and equally so in his close-up work, particularly when he focuses on the faces of Isa and Bahar as they agonise. You can tell what they are thinking about each other without a word being uttered. Indeed, the eyes are the windows of the soul.

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