The Wild Pear Tree (Ahlat Ağacı)

An aspiring writer returns to his native village, where his father’s debts catch up to him.

The Wild Pear Tree’ is the latest drama from Turkish Palme d’Or winner Nuri Bilge Ceylan, centring on Sinan, an aspiring writer who returns from university to his small village where he struggles to adjust to the difference in lifestyle. In keeping with much of Ceylan’s previous work, this is a very long film, clocking in at over 3 hours and I did find it testing my patience despite an engaging lead performance from Aydin Doğu Demirkol and some interesting themes. His previous film, ‘Winter Sleep’, was also this long but I found it to be a more engrossing piece of work.

The Wild Pear Tree’ follows Ceylan’s trademark style of utilising long takes comprised of lengthy conversations about all manner of subjects that act as a tool to expand on the themes he wants to explore. Sinan is an interesting character to focus on, as he’s been brought up in a small village but after gaining new experiences in a larger city at university, his outlook on life is very different and to an extent he’s outgrown the place he’s came from. We follow him as he attempts to scrape together the money required to publish his novel, hitting barriers at every turn, not least his father’s gambling debts which provide the main conflict in the film. He has conversations with the mayor, a fellow writer, a girl he used to know from school, with two imams, and whilst each scene explores some interesting topics, I felt it was a little heavy handed in trying to get at certain points without directly driving the narrative (which I guess, may be partly the point). It is a thoughtful piece of work and Ceylan’s style is an interesting antidote to the type of movies produced by the Hollywood machine, but ‘The Wild Pear Tree’ didn’t flow as naturally for me as some of his prior works did.

The Wild Pear Tree’ is an interesting film about a young man coming to terms with his place in the world, and the impact his time at university has on his outlook towards his parents, his background and what he wants for his future, but it is too long and I felt it was a little on the nose with its themes, lacking the subtlety seen in Ceylan’s previous works such as ‘Winter Sleep’.

Rating: 3/5

Directed By: Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Starring: Aydın Doğu Demirkol, Murat Cemcir, Bennu Yıldırımlar, Hazar Ergüçlü, Serkan Keskin and Tamer Levent

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