It’s a summer’s day and retired forester Faik is receiving visitors at his country home. His son Nusret has come to visit with Faik’s two grandsons Caner and Zafer. Despite the summer setting however, the mood remains oddly muted. Faik is having problems with the local nomads and is constantly on his guard, while Zafer has been suffering mental problems since his military service. This small group is completed by the family of Mehmet and Meryem and brings together different temperaments and social classes. But conflicts are avoided: it’s all someone else’s fault, that of the nomads, who remain an invisible foe.
The parable-like nature of the film is due in no small part to the magnificent Western landscape in which it was shot. The horizon is constantly hemmed in by walls of rock, the range of movement is restricted and the air is thick with menace. This all allows the film to cleverly play with projections and hallucinations. The idea of sloughing off one’s dark side and externalising it in the Other beyond the hill might serve to bring a group together, whether along family or national lines. Yet this will not prevent drama, acting if anything to encourage it. –Berlinale
The Turkish countryside, a family get-together and the challenges of the individual. While I found Alper's approach to 'the other' original with genuine revelation, I was frustrated by the under-developed, cyclical nature of the family dynamic. The cinematography is stunning, the performances deliberately push archetype, often dismissing logic in favour of farce. I look forward to seeing his next project. 3 stars
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