Climates (Turkey/France; 101 min.)

directed by: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
starring: Ebru Ceylan; Nuri Bilge Ceylan; Nazan Kirilmas

Bruce says: "While I enjoyed DISTANT, Celylan’s last film, I found its many flaws curbed my enthusiasm. I have not seen Ceylan’s earlier films so I have no way of knowing whether there was ever an inkling of such an accomplished work as CLIMATES in the making. A simple story often lends itself to masterful storytelling. CLIMATES is a perfect example.

"CLIMATES could easily been entitled 'Anatomy of a Break-up.' Asi is a professor who is trying to finish his doctoral thesis but his personal life keeps getting in his way. Bahar is a TV designer, working on series that are frequently shot far from Istanbul where they both live. While on vacation in Kas, their relationship unravels at high speed. While having dinner with friends, Asi and Bahar begin nagging one another in a way that tells all observers this relationship is over. We learn that there is something unpleasant in their history called Serap. We do not yet know that Serap is a woman and that Asi has been having an affair on the side. But details are not really important in a film like CLIMATES. When two people are separating, the details are frequently sketchy if not downright inaccurate. It is the feelings that count, feelings that frantically dart all over the place.

"It is natural to want to take sides when a break-up occurs. There is a palpable need for the observer to find a clear-cut case of right and wrong. As the drama of CLIMATES unfolds taking sides is not so easy. For most of the film I was sure that this would turn out to be one of those “two wrongs never make a right” situations. Towards the end of the film, an important truth is revealed and some previously blurred events come into focus.

"Seeing the preview for CLIMATES - which thankfully for me occurred after having already seen the film – gives away some of the important moments in the film. This beautiful slow moving film has a few jarring moments which should under no circumstances be given away in advance. Like DISTANT much of the film takes place in Istanbul although action gradually moves to eastern Turkey when Asi attempts a reunion with Bahar as she is working on location for a new TV series. Almost every scene is thoughtfully shot and that alone elevates this film above its peers. Ceylan also happens to be a very good storyteller. His characters have depth and he knows how to captivate his audience by letting the narrative meander in non-linear fashion. The pace is slow but in no way static.

"Self-deception plays an important role on more than one level in CLIMATES; in a relationship self-deception rarely just involves the self. Asi and Bahar are husband and wife off-screen; their self-deceptions on screen are all the more eerie knowing that fact. Both are sensitive actors who can amalgamate conflicting emotions into a single glance. They are a joy to watch. 5 cats"

Chris says: "I admit to nodding off during Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan's last film, DISTANT. I came close to doing so again during his new one—the languid, lulling pace is probably to blame—but I enjoyed it a great deal more. It opens with Asi and Bahar, a couple (played respectively by Ceylan and his wife, Ebru) vacationing in a coastal part of Turkey during the summer; it concludes with them saying goodbye (possibly for the final time) in a mountainous part of the country in winter. In between those two cyclical extremes, we witness the dissolution of their relationship. This includes not only their breakup, but smaller, far subtler details like the change in emotion and chemistry when they fleetingly reunite towards the end.

As a director, Ceylan's visual sense is extraordinary yet unflashy, giving both pretty and banal images equal weight and depth. The sound design is also exceptional: you will never hear the crunch of a pinenut being eaten again without thinking of this film's most thrilling, surprising, sexually charged scene. What really gives CLIMATES an edge, however, is the director's empathy towards his characters, no matter how poorly or erratically they sometimes behave. As a real couple portraying a fictional one, Ceylan and his wife are convincing without making the viewer feel too voyeuristic. And as for that languid pacing, Ceylan shrewdly throws enough abrupt, interesting twists into his narrative to keep it involving while remaining artful and contemplative. 4.5 cats"