The Small Town (1997)

Nuri Bilge Ceylan directs Cihat Bütün, Emin Ceylan and Fatma Ceylan in this Turkish arthouse film following the population of a small town in winter.

The everyday is filmed from a striking perspective during the first half of this debut. You get a real feeling of just how emotionally isolated this close knit community is from each other. The focus on the casual cruelty of the children to animals and outsiders matches with Haneke’s The White Ribbon neatly. The second half of the film we sit with three generations of a family around a campfire as they discuss themes Ceylan would explore in later films with more elegance: individuality, responsibility and restlessness with the mundanity of life. After the cinematic mood poem start, a static staged yet rambling conversation feels like a bit of a disjointed comedown.


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