Magazine article Screen International

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Magazine article Screen International

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Dir/scr: Muzaffer Ozdemir. Turkey. 2011. 90mins

Patient conservationists will feast on this slow-paced, contemplative mountain hike made by 56 year-old Muzaffer Ozdermir, best known as the lead in Nuri Bilge Celan's award-winning Distance. With barely a sliver of a plot to hold it together, this stunning collection of awe-inspiring landscapes combines with images of modern intrusions into the heart of nature, all of it backed by brief dialogues and spells of narration, for what would be best described as a litany for a self-destructive age.

An ode to nature and an insistent indictment of those who destroy it arbitrarily.

Home (Yurt) is an ideal choice for festival exposure, screened at the Adana Film Festival and already on its way to the Tokyo competition next month, this debut shows a keen eye for visuals combined with a toned-down elegiac mood that may not be sufficient for mass audiences, but should draw the attention of art cinemas.

The opening sequence in a forest, showing the carcass of a dead animal covered by flies, already prepares the ground for Ozdemir's obsessive theme - death and destruction of nature, forcibly harnessed by man to serve his own immediate interests.

The main character, Dogan (Kanbolat Gorkem Arslan), is an architect suffering from an undefined mid-life crisis, who is told by his doctors to take some time off from the daily rat race hassle. His partner (played by director Ozdemir) encourages him to go back to his home town, far in the mountains of North-East Turkey and on the way, collect some pictures of original water mills they might use in their work.

Before long, Dogan is back in the old country, to find there are no water mills in sight, rivers are polluted, every brook is chained by pipelines to generate electricity, old houses fall apart with no one to care, old bridges in disrepair are hiding new shapeless cement ones behind them. Even the new mosques don't look the way they used to, nor do their Imams. When you want look at real nature, you go to your computer.

His relatives suggests the best place for him to recuperate is the old family farm, far up in the mountains, away from the heavy machinery down in the valley, looking like manmade monsters relentlessly gnawing at everything in their way. …

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