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Times and Winds review

August 12, 2008

From the Film and Festivals print mag:

Set in a mountainous Turkish village, Times and Winds (Bes Vakit) looks at a Muslim community defined by the five daily calls to prayer. The stories of three children give the viewer a way in: Omer (Ozkan Ozen), whose father is the subject of his murderous impulses; Yakup (Ali Bey Kayali), whose crush on his schoolteacher is shared by his father; and Yildiz (Elit Iscan), who often has to act as a mother to her small brother.

The film looks beautiful, with all the rich colours providing a pretty backdrop to the repressed feelings being quietly contained. For each child, an exhilarating tracking shot is often used, with the camera following along just behind, presenting the viewer with a back and some rushing landscape. These shots bridge scenes, but also shut the viewer out. We’re left chasing after the children.

The shot works as a metaphor for the film as a whole. Times and Winds uses repeated behaviour to drive a point home about each character: Omer’s hatred of his father, Yakup spying on his teacher, Yildiz’ childish laughter at animals mating. The repetition suggests the boredom of life in the village, but gives the viewer little else to work with.

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