review

'The wild pear tree': long-winded but with monumental images

Onze score

An aspiring teacher cannot find a publisher for the novel in which he muses on his youth in the inland. He feels unappreciated and misunderstood, and that doesn’t improve after his forced return to his native village where he is confronted with his gambling-addicted father and villagers that he arrogantly looks down on.

After coming very close on several occasions, Nuri Bilge Ceylan finally won the Golden Palm in 2014. Compared to contemplative masterpieces like Three Monkeys (2008) or Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011), Winter Sleep was surprisingly loquacious. The same is true of this follow-up, The Wild Pear Tree, and perhaps even excessively so, in our humble opinion.

The debates about Islam, the struggling economy, and the failures of the intelligentsia are not uninteresting, but they sometimes make this slow film too long-winded. Fortunately, the weighty, complex, philosophical dialogues do not prevent the Turkish master from envisioning monumental images that honour the landscape and reflect the zeitgeist of the failing man who is wrestling with himself, his masculinity, and his homeland.

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