The World Is Flat

Turkish pre-teens hate their parents and lust after teachers in Times and Winds

Times and Winds is a film bewitched by the rhythms of everyday life in a remote Turkish village. Director Reha Erdem sees pain and love the same way he does the moon and sun—as constant, illuminating forces—and his camera pushes forward as if on an axis, peering at family and communal experience through the impressionable eyes of three pre-adolescents.

Ömer (Özkan Özen) prays for the death of his cruel imam father, inviting the bitter wind into the man's bedroom at night and contemplating the effects of a scorpion's sting on the adult body; Yakup (Ali Bey Kayali), enchanted by his teacher's beauty, refuses to clean the woman's blood from his thumb after he pulls a splinter from her foot; and Yildiz (Elit Iscan), resentful of her mother and blinded by the adoration of her father, weeps when she catches her parents having sex.

The actors are prone to expressionlessness, and Arvo Pärt's score bears the brunt of the story's thematic heavy lifting, preciously rhyming growing pains to the sway of the seasons. But Erdem's vignettes can be trenchant, as in the amusing scenes of boys and girls responding differently to animals bumping uglies—evocations of how society determines sexual roles at an early age.

 
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