There are very few living film-makers who can hold a light to Nuri Bilge Ceylan when it comes to making beautiful and poetic pieces of cinema. His paints lavish tapestries, capturing the ennui and existential crises of modern human life. His last two films, Winter Sleep and Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, are amongst the best of the last decade. Ceylan’s latest, The Wild Pear Tree, is epic in length and also possibly his most politically and morally direct.
At the end of the university term, Sinan (Aydın Doğu) returns to his hometown and his parents’ house. He is desperate to become a writer and sets about trying to earn enough money to get his book published. His father (Murat Cemcir), who is a teacher at the local school, is popular in the village but is far too fond of gambling for his own good. As Sinan struggles to scrape money together he finds himself confounded by his father’s debts at every turn.
Whilst it doesn’t quite have the same impact or resonance of his previous films, The Wild Pear Tree is a beautiful treatise on the state of modern Turkey. It’s far more political than Ceylan’s normal work but it contains all his familiar hallmarks and unequivocal style. In the end, Sinan has to choose between pursuing his dreams and the stark realities of life. The Wild Pear Tree is family saga and inter-generational drama which plays out like a novel.
The Wild Pear Tree is out cinemas from 30 November.