Ahlat Agaci (2018)
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The plot, the acting and the cinematography is simply incredible. As a guy who lives in Turkey, it's very rare to see films with a quality. So in that way, I can easily say that Ahlat Agaci is the best movie in the past 4-5 years.
What stood out for me in the film was that you basically never get bored even though the film is quite long. No unnecessary scenes, no characters that you hate everytime you see them. Definitely a thing to consider.
NBC is so undervalued and underrated, at least in his homecountry. Interestingly enough, European cinema appreciates him and he almost always participates in Cannes Film Festival, but I'm %100 sure that half of Turkey doesn't even know his name. It's sad, but it also says a lot about the general look to cinema sector in Turkey.
Thanks to people like NBC, though, we can watch 'real' and 'non-American made' films.
Quality film by an incredible director. 10/10
This witty and beautiful film is full of metaphors, wonderful imagery and deep, intriguing conversations. The film revolves around many interesting themes. Among these themes is that ruptures in the soul should be treated with joy and patience for they help us discover who we are. The cinematography is luminous, mesmerizing and far ranging from lamp lit streets at night, rainfall and close-ups of Hatice's flowing hair. I want to linger in each place. It is a long film, but for what it reveals about contemporary Turkish society and human nature, it is a fantastic bargain and worth the price. From the director of Winter Sleep and Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. Seen at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.
In his first movies Ceylan barely had a story, he only had "themes". The rest of the movie was wonderful photography and this is what he got famous for. Then, founding clever collaborations, he learnt how to tell stories as well. But the question here is: does he really have a new story to tell? Turkey has changed a lot since Kasaba, but Ceylan's representations look like they are here to stay eternally. For instance, while Ceylan still hold on to the "intellectual stuck in the countryside" stereotype, intellectuals in the Turkish countryside either made it to the metropolises or they are replaced/outdated by the emerging religious elite.
So instead of telling a new story, Ceylan seems like he chose to "garnish" what he already has, with neverending dialogues unattached to each other. Dialogue with the girl, dialogue with the mayor, with the businessman, with the writer, with the police friend, with the imams and with this and this and this. Kind of a video game, one "countryside monster" at a time. So I think this movie is a rococo remake of minimalist Kasaba.
So if you tolerate the theatrical lines in the first dialogues, the movie is a nice one to see. But in comparison to the last 2 movies of Ceylan, this is certainly a step backwards (and surprisingly, this backwardness is evident also in the photography).
It's very easy to find things from your own life within the story and the dialogues that occur which makes a lot of the little-longer-than-usual scenes very engaging and that makes you wonder how the dialogue is gonna develop and conclude.
I normally don't care too much about the length of movies but I'm a little bit on the negative side with this one. That's mainly because of what I told myself halfway through the movie which was; "Ohhh, we're only halfway" instead of "Yeahhh, we're only halfway".
It's about a young writer who recently finished university. He must move back to his village from the city where he went to school. So his struggles start as he doesn't want to get used to the village life.
I must say I am as much or even more intrigued by the father character where him being different, isolated and looked down by others because of somewhat materialistic failures in his life (gambling etc.), but yet somewhat he represents the true success in life by living a self sufficient life in a small basement, with a dog and other animals, still with a sense of humor, with no harm done to anyone or expecting much of anything from anyone, and in the end perhaps being the least depressed. Furthermore certainly by being the only person who cared for his son's writing.
Like many people to me the more I think about the film afterwards means the better that film is and I sure still think about, and digest this film and the anecdotes within.
First and biggest con of Ahlat Agaci is, NBC's approach to Anatolian people. He looks like he becomes more and more ignorant to Anatolians and sees less good inside them, so you can clearly feel as NBC's popularity among EU and other world climbs higher, his vision of his people got blurred and twisted by his political and ideological views.
He once said while receiving greatest prize ever; "I dedicate the prize to my lonely and beautiful country." But now, without his plain and crystal clear artistry, his country is more beautiful but lonelier.
As the others cons of the film, all the followers of NBC's works would agree that technical specifications and awe inspiring photography is clearly absent when you compare Ahlat Agaci to Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da or Kis Uykusu.
Conclusion; not a very bad movie but, not arguably worst of his.