...Since I watch films right on my laptop [don't die on me please], I want to make a different approach to an old habit by posting live comments on this blog. I usually take notes on my Twitter. The film that i'll be watching is made by the famous Turkish director Semih Kaplanoğlu who created an autobiographical trilogy: Egg (2007), Milk (2008), Honey (2010) with Honey being the most prestigious from the three winning a Golden Bear distinction earlier this year. This made me curious on what level of aesthetics Kaplanoglu is working with. I recently posted my initial observation on the trailer of Honey in which I wrote that it has some similarities with Victor Erice's masterpiece, Spirit of the Beehive (1973). The validity of the claim may or may not prove one thing or another. Hopping through the blogosphere made me a little bit more curious about this filmmaker. In HarryTuttle's ever enlightening Unspoken Cinema Blog, he posted a French article entitled "Miel" et "Milk" : Kaplanoglu, le réalisme spirituel from La Monde by Jean-Luc Douin dated September 21, 2010. Using the robotic translation of Google, i got this:
"...the evocative power of a Tarkovsky, and this through two movies with him...This trilogy... [is a] long flashback of Yusuf as a poet. In Yumurta he was 40 years old and returned to his hometown to bury his mother. In Milk, we find him at 18, when he began to be published in literary magazines while still living with his mother, whom he has difficulty with the desire to enter into an intimate relationship with the station master . In Honey, he is 6 years old and lives with his parents in the countryside of Anatolia. The trade of his father, a beekeeper, creates in him a devout admiration. At home in the majestic forest with magical prospector hives black, it loses its case, stutters in the classroom remains mute with his mother. The accidental death of his father plunged [him] into disarray.So apparently, the style of Kaplanoglu is quite "contemplative" in terms of its spiritual conditioning: stripped of music, banal diegetic sounds such as animal noises, echoes of wind and rain. A quite absorbing observation from La Monde.
....a film [by] Kaplanoglu is stripped of music and almost without words, dedicated to animal noises, the echoes of the wind or rain, is the parade of emotions, the chaos of sensations, in the first two films, constantly bring the hero to his early childhood, and in the third confronts both his dreams. This filmmaker approaches a time that leads us far beyond the days when his characters live and a way to see who takes us into their souls. He talks about his style as a "spiritual realism" of his art as a scan of life "in light of the higher powers."
Bal (2010) pic from La MondeIn my viewing of the first film Yumutra i am under these constraints and expectations.
Notes will be posted shortly through an a regular update. The film will start in a minute.
1 | Long shot scale on character, fog, reminds me of A scene from Tarkovsky's The mirror. Apparently, the character is an aged woman.
2 | Sounds of birds chirping, pans to the right, steady. on the muddy road where the aged woman walks away from the camera into the fog. 90 degree tilt, almost elusive.
3 | Yumutra
4 | Man with beard drinks wine with books around him. Medium shot scale, telephone. removes shoes. We apparently learn the man is Yusuf. The place is a bookstore, a costumer enters.
5 | This is a narrative. Focusing is prominent. He's a bookstore owner.
6 | Credits enter in black. offscreen phonecall. bells.
7 | Metallic sounds. credits continues. a car starting. Yusuf must be heading home. yes, he rides a vehicle.. Yellow to black to green to blue to apparently morning to market place. Really good placement, very almodovar way of cutting. Enters the street. The color and sounds are dynamic.
8 | Enters a door. A burial ritual. imbalance framing.
9 | Focusing is great, moment with the dead. Yusuf stared off-screen left to right. We do not know his thoughts. Contemplates on the dead for a moment then cut.
10 | Long shot scale, group of men and women approaches. exterior shot. apparently on a graveyard, burying a person. peculiar customs. Yusuf is left. Stares at a child. brings water. Must be symbolic. long shot scale. showers water on grave. has a kiarostamian lighting. with trees like that of Iran. Pans to the right. Walks away from the camera.
11 | into the green. walks into the Forrest. winds. ephemeral.
12 | quail egg, drops into the camera, noise of birds, rapid cut, must be Yusuf's dream. Spiritual images.
13 | Walks in the town. Enters barber shop. Shaves. Fell asleep. Looks at the mirror. Reflexive. Enters the door of his house. Mystified by its look. Sounds of clacking utensils. Yusuf sees a woman in the kitchen. Asks for tea.
14 | Two planes of images, focusing is prominent. steady cam. The images build on itself. the woman is a servant. Yusuf eats bread. Slippers. Two planes of images, Yusuf and the woman. Focused on Yusuf.
15 | sat together. "My father had bloomed" His dead relatives are plants. Quite a great scheme. Anthromorphic. Ayla is grand daughter of Uncle rahim.
16 | Yusuf's mother just died. Sacrificial ram. Hesitate. Doesn't believe in things.
17 | Enters room. Covers face. Desolation. A shot on the room.
18 | Milk. Milk. from jars. Cute! Mirrors. Mirrors. comparison.A child enters. Looks at the image of the dead mother. Child plays in the ruins. shot of window. such a light! like Reygadas.
19 | Yusuf looks around. cut to dinning room with a child. wide angle lens. images from out of the window.
20 | Man and the motorcycle. Yusuf approaches from the right
of screen. This must be the man from the window. walked passed by him.
21 | Pearl by pearl s, Buck. Yusuf notices the teacher from the window. Tea. tea. 3rd. enters law office. calls to fax I.D. Very kiarostami. The wind will carry us. talks with a friend on the phone. watched a man weaves something on the yard. the images is perplex. of spiritual wieght for Yusuf. It zooms gradually, Yusuf fell down. fainted. Onion on face. helped by the man weaving.
22 | Gets up. sits down near the camera, turning its back. man gets water for Yusuf. ask where he feels pain. images of
23 | Yusuf indie a bath house alone. walks out of the bath house.
24 | Ayla rides a motorcycle. motorcycled man points at the
town. sits with ayla. must be ayla's fiance.
25 | Ayla is interrogated by her passing the university.
26 | Ayla and the man, unrequitted love. Ayla walks on the
27 | Ayla crys. meets with a friend from university.
28| Man climbs wall. reaches for the string. woke up in bed. it must be a dream. two planes of images.
29 | Long shot scale, yusuf approaches the red car. Meets an old friend. "Nobody is like a mother" Yussuf hinders his way to istanbul. Recall's his friends.
30 | Yusuf is a famous poet.
31 | Drives. A school. School ends. A woman walks into an alley. Yusuf follows. hthe school teacher a little while ago.
31 | Apparently, this is yusuf's love interst. keeping up with the girl. the town is Tire.
32 | Opens windows, light enters. such an image.
33 | Banal life. Ayla's nape. Yusuf holds a book entitled BAL. Ayla and Yusuf on staircase watching the fire. Talks of Yusuf staying for the night.
34 | Smoke drenches their faces. Moon over mountain. Ayla holds her hands. Yusuf smokes. Ayla gave mementos to Yusuf. Two plane of images. Focusing is significant.
35 | Lights goes off. yusuf decides to buy a fuse.
36 | Yusuf meets with electrician. the candle burns in Ayla's hands. beautiful natural lighting. Chiarachuro.
37 | send regards but says he's at the funeral. ysusf never
38 | Ayla and electircian shared looks. Smiles. Electrician
glances back at door.
39 | Yusuf still smokes. [eewwwsss] broken glass on the window. phone. yusuf sees the in the fridge a news clip of him. Ayla drinks water.
40 | mementos in a box.
41 | Ayla on the window. Many many window and door shots in
this movie. overlooking the town.
42 | Yusuf enters his car, redies for Istanbul. Has hesitation. smiles and starts the car. sunlight. picks up ayla.
43 | Passes through electrician. No actions inside the car.
notices the electircian passed by with the motorcycle. changes windshield. Stares at Ayla. no conversations
44 | Ayla. Blue eyes. A certain Goluck incident which Yusuf
did not arrive.
44 | A long shot on car. Very kiarostami. A hawk.
45 | sunlight. on the car. Such a gem. Drinks tea. Visits
relatives. mistaken as married couples.
46 | talks on prep course. stops on a farm. sun is setting.
looks for the herd but not there.
47 | Take to goluck, rainy, foggy. a lake... two planes of
images again, ayla on the foreground.
48 | Cuts into the hotel, Ayla lloooks at painting. A beautiful, beautiful shot. Explores the hotel with curiousity. staircase. pink, orange, sees a bride to be wed with the groom. A promise of love. curious ayla follows the crowd. red drapping. See's red woman doing a custom of dancing.
49 |fascinated by the sight. sees yusuf also watching.
50 | window pane moist by rain. swipes. hands of yusuf. A longshot scale on a figure of ayla by the tree.
51 | Ayla exhales. Cries. gazes into the lake. elusive vision.
52 | Car stops, exits. carries out a ram with ayla for the sacrifice. Yusuf befriends the ram. prays over the ram. ram, sacrified. ayla on the far, yusuf with a blood on the forehead. sees three woman with scarf. Woman prepares the ram for feast. ayla watches.
53 | Yusuf removes the blood. rides the car. stops. drops ayla at the doorstep. ayla motionless, nods.
54 | Yusuf, turns back. stops and leans over the steering
55| Yusuf walk out in the fields where mounds of dirt are
dried. sun setting. beautiful. Yusuf sees the heard. A dog
knocks him over. Moon.
56 | walks up. with dog beside. dark, pitch black. second time he fell in the film. cute dog! haahaha! dogs calls out. imprisoned by dogs. as if part of the heard. dog faces him.
57 | Yusuf breaks out in the dark. cut to morning. Yusuf is at the grass. Yusuf walks away from the camera.
58 | Ayla enters. gives an egg. smiles. drinks tea. eats
bread. with such a banal look. Cheese from their relatives.
59 | Rains + credits... sounds continuos on. rains pour down but only sounds.
Rating: 5/5 (A masterpiece) A Spiritual journey into oneself. A film of incredible restraint it alludes to almost all contemplative experiments of contemporary European and Iranian filmmakers. A distilled and impressionist take on life, death and things past. Yumutra (2007) touches the very essence of what was once we call the complexity of our existence.