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Times and Winds (Bes vakit) (review)

An elegy for the end of childhood and the loss of innocence, this striking Turkish movie — winner of the Best Film prize at the Istanbul Film Festival — is an earthy, cruelly honest dream-wander through the physical and emotional awakenings of three young teenagers whose lives are shaped and constrained by the rural rhythms of their remote mountain village. One boy struggles with the legacy of cold contempt his Muslim-cleric father seems intent on passing on to his son, leading the boy to a dreadful extreme that writer-director Reha Erdem touches on with, shockingly, all the wistful reverie of more typical adolescent fantasies. Such as those of the boy’s best friend, who fancies himself in love with their pretty schoolteacher… though she herself becomes an arresting contrast with a village girl who sees the approach of her own womanhood with a kind of horror. Almost a silent film for long stretches, the drama here blossoms from the remarkable performances of the young, unknown cast, who share calm companionable moments and endure their own solitary moments of small, quiet terror with the same equanimity — and from the harsh poetry with which Erdem’s contemplation of the countryside infuses the film. Alas, there are no bonus materials included on the disc.

MPAA: not rated

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