About Dry Herbs Review | Turkey’s latest Oscar entry is slowly hitting all the right philosophical spots
The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, where lead actress Merve Dizdar became the first Turkish actor to win the Best Actress award. It has since been nominated as Turkey’s entry for the Oscars, and while it may be unlikely to earn a place on the longlist, it is a fierce competition. About dry herbs It has been shown in Turkey since its Cannes Film Festival premiere, and is making its way through international film festivals such as Chicago and the New York Film Festival.
In the film, Deniz Celeloglu plays Samet, an exhausted art teacher working in rural Turkey. The film follows his selfishness and how he engages in a relationship with one of his students: Sevim. Somewhere along the way, he becomes closer to his roommate and co-worker, who is accused of sexually assaulting and abusing his students, and becomes friends with a woman and fellow teacher who survived a terrorist explosion—but not without losing her leg. In treatment.
The story of a selfish man in rural Türkiye
The hero of this epic story is Samet, an art teacher working in rural Türkiye. He was teaching in Istanbul, but was assigned to this remote village. He absolutely hates the area, and from what we can see, there isn’t much in this city. Sweeping camera shots of the landscape show that it is constantly snowing, and at some moments, the characters huddle inside their homes because the snow is so bad. However, in his daily work life, Samet shows fondness towards a young student named Sevim in his classes, and other students notice that she receives special treatment from him.
Everything begins to change when all students are subject to a mandatory bag check, and the faculty extracts a love letter from Sevim’s bag. Samet goes to the teachers’ lounge and gets the letter and keeps it on his teacher’s desk. But when Sevim comes and asks him to return the letter, Samit refuses and lies to her, claiming that he tore up the letter and it no longer exists. Samet still doesn’t return the letter to her even after she starts crying, and this sets up one of the film’s driving conflicts: Sevim and her friend Aileen are supposed to report Samet and his roommate and co-worker, Keenan, for being inappropriate with female students. .
Kenan and Simat are left off the hook without any investigation, but this sparks a deeper friendship between the two. Together they meet a woman named Norai, who is teaching in a nearby village, and they become a trio for a while. Samit points out that Kanan has a deeper interest in Noray than him, as the two have great potential for a romantic relationship because of this. He spots Noray riding in Keenan’s car at one point, meaning the two are probably doing things without him. This lays the seeds for Summitt’s later actions in the film, even when the film cuts to a bizarre moment where he wanders off the set, past the entire crew, to go to the bathroom.
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The three continue to meet in the meantime, and when Samet hears fart from a co-worker who the two students basically accused Keenan of, he begins to realize that Keenan may not be who he said he was all along. Thus begins the driving force for the rest of the film, as Summit now has to deal with the effects of what the girls did while they were at school, how they continue to try to report him, and how his anger causes him to attack the class. And the growing affection he now feels for Noray due to his resentment of Kenan.
A film full of poetry
Turkish cinema has really established itself in recent years, and as with many other regional and national cinemas, it has its own language and its own ways of doing things. in depth, About dry herbs It is a very Turkish film in terms of the filmmaking style and even the dialogue itself. Some of the monologues and scenes unfold like poetry, connecting the human spirit, selfishness, and everyday things that we commonly experience and don’t even know the names of. One of the film’s most striking monologues is a voice-over that occurs in its final moments, as Summitt prepares for the next journey outside of the world he has been living in for some time.
And although the snowy landscape may be claustrophobic for Samet and the other characters, everything is beautifully shot, showing just how small this village and its many issues are in the grand scheme of things. As a character, Summitt is incredibly selfish and only cares about himself half the time, which makes the film somewhat unbearable when he attacks people who don’t deserve the kind of vile language he directs at them. There’s an implication that Sevim’s love letter might be intended for him, and when she starts resisting his little toy, it stokes the flames of rage in Samet even more.
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But despite this polarizing personality, what movies do you love? About dry herbs To do this well is to humanize these types of people. In an extended argument scene with Noray, after having dinner together, we get a fascinating insight into both these characters and their views on the world and its people. Samet believes in order in society, which director Ceylan juxtaposes with subtle hints of the political and religious conflict taking place in the region through the images, the people depicted, and the verbal conflict between rural and urban life. Those like Samet look down on the rural way of life, hence his disdain for everything and anything related to the city to which he is assigned.
Draw conversations and personalities
Central to the plot About dry herbs The protagonist is enraged by the way Sevim, who was his favorite student, turned her back on him and betrayed Samit by reporting him to the school board. There is a very particular brand of masculine rage in the film’s DNA, with Samet embodying something sinister when it comes to patriarchy and the power dynamics within the film. He is the one who initiates a friendship with an underage student, gives her gifts, and even puts his arms around her shoulders. Even his male students talk early in the film about how much he favors Sevim and her friends, meaning this is obvious to everyone around them.
Yet at the same time he is able to escape punishment. He smoothly talks his way out of the report with Keenan when the head of the school district confronts them, and when he decides to make a move on Noray, he often talks about it when he tries to make conversation. This is not a protagonist who is meant to be likable in the long run, and even at the end of the film, he admits that he is not the definition of a person the villagers will keep in touch with. When he has a blast with his students, he says some really terrible things, which means that someone like him is wallowing in his misery and simply taking it out on everyone around him.
About dry herbs It clocks in at more than 200 minutes, and as the film approaches the end, the script actually reveals some of its greatest moments. Poetry and narrative merge beautifully at the end of the film, but it is certainly an exhausting journey to get to this point. This is a film that requires a lot of philosophizing, and every actor gives their best in front of the camera. Very few people would be able to get away with a film like this, but Ceylan does it well in the hand of a master filmmaker.
About dry herbs It was screened at the 2023 New York Film Festival.