Genre: Drama
               Village, prostitutes, friendship, travel, prison, Turkey

The Kindness of Nature

  Burst hopes, a wretched life – these feelings could hardly another artist elicit such a beauty as the dramatist Anton Chekhov. But even in the cinema has the aesthetics of their melancholy masters, just think of Ingmar Bergman or Andrei Tarkovsky. With a stunning debut feature film director Özcan Alper builds on this tradition. Further evidence of the newly awakened power of the Turkish auteur film.

Fall / Sonbahar has gone over the past year and a half to almost 70 festivals and won 31 total awards, including the Art & Essay Prize 2008 in Locarno. It is no accident. For the young director (born 1975) is for the fate of a political ex-prisoners a visual language of penetrating untapped energy. The spectacular mountain scenery at the Turkish-Georgian border as a major player in the film as the roar of the sea and the season, the title-giving occurs with good reason.

It is autumn in nature and fall in life than Yusuf (Onur Saylak) is released after ten years from a high-security political prison. Why is the ex-student, was imprisoned there for so long, we know little about it. Only that he was a militant socialist in the early 1990s resulted street battles with the authoritarian state apparatus. And that he participated in the hunger strike against prison conditions. He put his health in such jeopardy that he will be released early in 2000. A doomed in a society that has been liberalized considerably in the meantime.

Yusuf returns to the mountain village of his childhood and youth, where the mother waits anxiously for him. But do not care in this world can save the young man, not the mother of the patient, not even those of childhood friend and not even the mysterious Eka (Megi Kobaladze) with which it combines tenderness with no future.

Once sees the lovers, each # is in separate places, Chekhov’s play Uncle Vanya (on TV). In one of the last scenes of Vanya’s niece Sonya muses that the two actually have their lives behind them, but must proceed anyway, always continue to work in a meaningless drudgery. Something like that happens to Yusuf and Eka. Also, they are somehow not of this world, even if they work fairly well even outwardly. They have no more wire to the people. Only in nature, it seems, they find solace in long views out to the mountains or the sea. With it, they can connect, build resonance. Around the touching scenes where we see Yusuf before the wooden house of his mother sleeping on a bench – in broad daylight. In the narrow room the night of the ex-prisoner, nightmares plague. Then he stays awake for hours, until it finally dawn on the hard bench outside lulls the whisper of the awakening valley.
Are such natural images that make up the fascination of this film. Members instead of the dramatic landscapes of the soul of an external action, the story – not in a linear progression, but in a circular motion. The autumn is evident here from its double page. With rain, it refers to the coming winter – and thus to the death. But before he leaves this life over again in all its glory shine. Özcan Alper developed to a remarkable rhythm, which opposes the passion of a ruined life, the joy in the brief moments of happiness. It is the grieving process of parting, the demands as the hero. This is one part bitter. But on the other – as beautiful as in Chekhov – to die.

(Peter Gutting)

Title: Autumn Original Title: Sonbahar Country of production: Germany, Turkey Year of production: 2008 Length: 99 (min) of material: movie factory

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