Climates (Iklimer) (2006): From Turkish Writer-director Nuri Bilge

Cannes Film Fest 2006–Winner of the prestigious Fipresci Award at Cannes Film Fest this year, Climates is acclaimed Turkish writer-director Nuri Bilge Ceylans follow-up to “Distant,” his 2003 Cannes entry, which won the Grand Jury Prize as well as the Best Actor (shared by Muzaffr Ozdemir and Emin Toprak)

During a summer vacation on the Aegean coast, the relationship between the middle-aged professor Isa (played by Ceylan himself) and his younger, television producer girlfriend Bahar (Ebru Ceylan, Ceylans real-life wife) brutally implodes.

Back in Istanbul that fall, Isa rekindles a torrid affair with a previous lover. But when he learns that Bahar has left the city for a job in the snowy East, he follows her there to win her back.

The tale, which is written and edited by Ceylan, centers on the doomed relationship between the two as seen through the changing climates, both internal and external.

Shot all over Turkey, the film’s locations include Kas, Istanbul, Agri, Dogubeyazit, and Erzurum. It’s a measure of Ceylan’s precise approach that each of these locations not only looks differently but also registers a different tone that derives directly from the specific phase of the relationship.

Beautifully drawn and meticulously observed, the film recalls in its detailed mise-en-scene and quiet mood the cinema of Italian master Michelangelo Antonioni. Like Antonioni, Ceylan shows penchant for a poetic use of landscape and both incisive and exquisitely visual rendering of loneliness, loss and the elusive nature of happiness.

Boasting subtly powerful performances, stunning cinematography (Ceylans first work in high definition), and densely textured sound design, “Climates” offers a meditative rumination on the fragility and complexity of human relationships.

Ceylan may be one of the few directors in Europe at present to be making personal art films, disregarding audiences’ taste and other commercial considerations. That he is Turkish offers a double reason for celebration.