The Wild Pear Tree

(Ahlat Ağacı)

Nuri Bilge Ceylan continues to command attention as a modern-day Chekhov with the meandering, elegiac The Wild Pear Tree. The story of a prodigal son and an errant father unfolds at a lugubrious pace, gently immersing itself in the rhythms of everyday lives scarred by impossible dreams and corrosive anxieties.

Poster for the Turkish prodigal-son drama The Wild Pear TreeRecent college graduate Sinan returns home to his village near the port city of Çanakkale. The first voice he hears is that of a man reminding him that Sinan’s father owes him money. It is hardly a glorious homecoming. Sinan later confesses that if he had the powers of a dictator he would drop a bomb on the place; his family seem equally unimpressed by him.

Sinan is uncertain what his future holds. His one desire is to publish a book of fictionalized autobiographical writings. Sinan’s return brings him back into contact with Hatice, the woman he once loved. He is also pulled back into the orbit of his father Idris.

Beautifully filmed in the golden glow of warm sunshine, The Wild Pear Tree is impeccably acted, and crammed with haunting images, including the huge statue of a Trojan horse left behind after the Brad Pitt film Troy.

Over the course of the film, Sinan’s encounters and musings reflect an existential angst. His greatest fear is to wind up exactly like his father; his yearning is for an escape and assertion of individuality that may never be achieved. It is a plaintive tale, as sweet and bitter as the wild pear.

– Allan Hunter, The List

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