Monday, February 17, 2014
Bliss, The Edge of Heaven or When We Leave (a German film, yes, but more about Turkey than Germany), and you'll have an idea of what I mean: violence, honor killings and women as chattel, to name a few fairly typical themes.
Nuri Bilge Ceylan, has smartly managed to sidestep this by concentrating more on the male than the female, while offering themes that would seem to make Turkey more western than eastern. Hence, I suspect, his full acceptance by our cultural gatekeepers.
WATCHTOWER, from the female writer/director Pelin Esmer, shown at left, is one of the better and more interesting examples of new Turkish cinema because it faces head-on the question of woman's place in Turkish society and finds it greatly wanting. Yet, due to the story Esmer tells and the manner in which she tells it, we see the situation a step removed from the full-frontal, in-your-face, honor-killing set-up of Bliss. Here, a young woman takes charge of her life in a way that would never be necessary in most of the western world but that seems perfectly understandable in Turkey.
Olgun Simsek, above) has come to the area to work at the titular watchtower at the top of the mountain as a guard against forest fires. Seher (Nilay Erdonmrez, below) has left university suddenly with no explanation and is now working on the bus line that arrives and departs from the tiny station.
Film Movement and running 100 minutes, the Watchtower DVD hits the streets this Tuesday, February 18, and as with most Film Movement titles, will probably be available on Netflix streaming very soon.
Watch for it.