Nuri Bilge Ceylan's screenplay for The Wild Pear Tree, as usual, contains quotes from various sources including Anton Chekhov, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ibn Arabi, Shams-i Tabrizi, Peyami Safa, Yunus Emre and Muhammed.
In Nuri Bilge Ceylan's own words Ahlat Agaci "attempts to tell the story of a young man who senses with a feeling of guilt that he is different in a way that he cannot come to accept, that he is being dragged towards a destiny that he cannot embrace, as well as the rich mosaic of people surrounding him, without favoring or being unfair to anybody".
Nuri Bilge Ceylan describes his recent shift in style, i.e., increasing the importance of extended dialogues which is the case for both Kis Uykusu (2014) and Ahlat Agaci, as a revolt against certain dogmas about cinema.
Considering the fact that Nuri Bilge Ceylan's last six films were in Cannes Competition and all five of them received awards including a Palm d'Or, Ahlat Agaci marks the first time that a Nuri Bilge Ceylan film did not win any prize in Cannes.
Nuri Bilge Ceylan cast Dogu Demirkol after watching him booed for his performance as a stand-up comedian in the Turkish version of Got Talent TV show (Yetenek Sizsiniz Turkiye). Ceylan later told Demirkol that what convinced him in Demirkol's performance was his zeal in trying to give a good account of himself which for Ceylan was what Demirkol and the character he played, Sinan, had in common.
Nuri Bilge Ceylan was drawn to the real story of the father, Idris in the film, at first. However while composing the screenplay and after meeting with the son, Akin Aksu, he found it more interesting to tell the story of him which is why Aksu joined the production as a co-writer.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
In one scene, Sinan, having accidentally vandalized a historic Çanakkale bridge, runs from the scene of the crime and hides out in what appears to be a local monument commemorating the Trojan horse. That monument is actually a relic from the shoot of the 2004 Wolfgang Petersen epic Troy.
The final scene of the film, which is between the protagonist and his father, was shot in five different weather conditions. The reason was the continuity problems due to ever-shifting adverse weather conditions. In the end, Nuri Bilge Ceylan preferred the snowy version because it was "the most complete and the most properly played".
The Wild Pear Tree is the name of the book that the protagonist, Sinan, tries to self-publish. The book, with Sinan's words, is "a work of social observation", was written "free of any faith, ideology and allegiance", comprises "personal confessions" and is "a quirky auto-fiction meta-novel".
An earlier cut of the film had contained a prologue featuring Idris. In the scene, a young Idris as a teacher in a rural school was demonstrating his students how to plant seedlings in an event for National Forest Week while suddenly going extracurricular after seeing a wild pear tree around and starting to talk about it, its forlorn nature and desolation.