The Wild Pear Tree – Film Review by Frank L.
Writers: Akin Aksu, Ebru Ceylan
Stars: Dogu Demirkol, Murat Cemcir, Bennu Yildirimlar
This new feature film from Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Winter Sleep 2014, Once upon a time in Anatolia 2011) follows a young man, Sinan (Dogu Demirkol), returning to his family and their village Çan having obtained a third level qualification. He is a serious reader and dreams of making his life as a writer. However, provided he gets the exams, he is much more likely to become a teacher like his father, Idris (Murat Cemcir). As the film begins it is clear that whatever ambition and drive Idris may have had once has long been driven out of him by his hopeless gambling addiction. He has creditors everywhere as Sinan finds out quickly enough when he steps off the bus at Çanerkoakkale, the local big town on his arrival home. It is a tourist destination being close to Gallipoli. Charmingly, it has preserved as a tourist attraction the Trojan horse which was used in the movie epic, Troy (2004), in which Brad Pitt starred.
Sinan’s mother Asuman (Bennu Yildirmlar) is supportive of his dreams but given the fecklessness of Idris there is little practical support she can give to help him achieve his goals. She herself has almost given up on life and soothes her marital disappointment by indulging herself with a constant diet of television soaps. Into this mix Celan adds firstly Idris’s obsession of digging a well in search of water on a small patch of land which he owns, and secondly, Sinan’s haughtiness as he seeks to engage the local successful author in literary discussion and finally his oblique relationship with Hatice (Hazar Ergüclü). It is an eclectic mix about a young man out of sync with his immediate environment with little means of escape. Remarkably, Sinan does manage by hook and by crook to get his novel “The Wild Pear Tree” published which gives him hope. These relationships Ceylan gently probes and illuminates in scenes that are at times funny but also uncomfortable as Sinan’s youthful arrogance comes into contact with the reality of his existence.
Ceylan creates very many beautiful scenes and images throughout this thoughtful amble through these unremarkable lives. The acting is of a high quality throughout and even if the story is slight the variety of the small disappointments and occasional triumphs keep the entire moving along in a considerate balance.
It lasts for just over three hours and it says much for Ceylan’s skills as a director that he keeps the attention engaged in a series of events of small moment which are typical of many people’s daily lives. As a film it enchants often and overall is satisfying.