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Turkish delight in The Wild Pear Tree

01 December, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

Dogu Demirkol in The Wild Pear Tree

Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Certificate 15

NURI Bilge Ceylan is a Turkish director whose works have broken across language and cultural barriers. He has taken a particular culture yet made it relevant to all. And his films are so watchable not just because of the types of stories he chooses – realistic, humanistic – but by his ability to make the most mundane of scenes look rather beautiful.

In The Wild Pear Tree, we meet a young man with a resigned, jowly face who feels the world should be recognising his particular talents – and is slightly bemused by its inability to do so.

Sinan (Dogu Demirkol) arrives home from university with a manuscript he wants to see published and dreams of being a successful writer.

His father Idris (Murat Cemcir) might be seen as imperfect but his gambling, debts, lackadaisical attitude toward family, work and finances are actually rather charming, as is his day dreaming, his jokiness, his getting along and connection to the countryside.

The urban landscape of the town of Can, the smallish suburb they call home, feels like a cage – Idris is happier talking about the goats he will buy when he gets his pension and about digging a well on his father’s hillside land – a well whose spot he has chosen using a divining rod, and has yet, despite its depth, to yield any water (a nice metaphor for the father’s condition and perhaps by proxy the son’s too).

We follow Sinan as he treks through the town, clutching his manuscript, meeting friends and acquaintances, looking for the as yet unidentified benefactor who will pay for his book of self-indulgent essays and stories to be published. It feels fruitless, though Sinan is blinkered and confident enough in his ability not to be able to recognise this.

Ceylan has pedigree. His background includes credits for almost every aspect of film-making, from screenplays and direction to the more technical elements – and it makes sense when you watch this. It is immersive, with no straight forward camera angles or scene setting. The viewer feels in the room with the characters, and it makes the conversations we are listening to simple, plain, and yet enlightening.

His work Once Upon A Time In Anatolia is possibly his best-known film in the UK and is another slow-burner.

Pear Tree is not a short tale, coming in close to three hours. It feels like one of those books where 10 words are used instead of two, the sort of thing Sinan has written. But it feels right – nothing hurried, cooked slowly, and better tasting because of it.


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