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The Wild Pear Tree

(Turkey, English Subtitles): Sinan has just graduated college and returns home to a small and more rural town, hoping to publish his first book that he refers to as an “auto-fiction meta novel” (which in itself reflects the film’s ability to get you to constantly try to unpack the narrative). His father is a schoolteacher who has gambled away the family home. He is close to retiring, and at the beginning of the film, he is trying to dig a well on a family plot that everyone says will never run. The film is partly a father-son relationship journey, but it is also the story of a young, post-college idealist who is at times obnoxious in his pomposity but is also trying to find a place for himself in the world. It is a period in time many of us coming out of college go through when we know without a doubt that we have all of the answers and that it takes life, living, and experience to recognize that we don’t. The dialog is deep, and I think that I may have to see it again at some point to capture more of the depth of the conversations about religion, writing, and art. The acting is wonderful, and the cinematography is gorgeous. The Turkish landscapes are exquisite. There is a scene early in the film when Sinan runs into an old girlfriend who is getting married. The director captures such beauty in both people in those camera sequences. The film gets a big thumb’s up from me. It is on the longish side (a bit over 3 hours), and it is in places “heady”, but it is also a powerful and different kind of coming of age story. I loved it. (2018; 4.5 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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