The Wild Pear Tree (dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan)

Scrupulously probed philosophy encased in a searing narrative with a longer-than-average running time is what we’ve come to expect from Turkish master Nuri Bilge Ceylan. At 188 minutes, his new film, The Wild Pear Tree, doesn’t deviate from his current modus operandi, but expands on his ideas about the creative process. Prolonged dialogue scenes written like contained thunderstorms of emotional intensity are the building blocks of this heady drama.

Like many other young people in Turkey (and elsewhere for that matter), Sinan (Aydın Doğu Demirkol) has no employment prospects after graduating college, thus he retreats back to his village where his family braves economic hardships due to his father’s gambling problem and the debts that this entails. Eager to publish his first novel, a dissection of the town’s less flattering facets, the novice author seeks support from local officials only to soon learn that intellectuals have no place where he is from.

Ceylan expertly weaves a plot where scholarly discussions about religion or art emerge organically out of the emotional beats of the character-driven story. It’s an epic of the mind that would be tedious in an unskilled moviemaker’s hands, but here sincere introspection with underlying humor makes cerebral arguments riveting to watch. Carlos Aguilar

Aydın Doğu Demirkol is a son returning home in The Wild Pear Tree. Image Courtesy of Cinema Guild.

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