Climates, the title of the 4th film from Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan is a melancholic one as it seems to suggest that relationships are as temperamental as the weather, and that emotions shift with the climate. Such an explanation may seem superficial but the final sequences in the snow capped landscapes attempt to make a visual connection between the characters as if to imply that the choices we make depend greatly on not only instinct, but in this case, mood.
To want somebody and need somebody are two very different things in a relationship and Ceylan’s film explores how men in particular seem to want both things when in essence a woman would rather have the man make a choice and emotionally commit to the sexually and emotionally limiting puritanical prospect of monogamy. Such a perspective seems to hold a degree of moral currency within mainstream conservative society but this relevance is what Ceylan questions throughout a film that suggests liberal sexual politics is deeply convenient but at the same time breeds loneliness.
Climates is not solely about gender relations but also investigates a familiar and common thematic motif that greatly concerns Ceylan as an auteur, that of loneliness. Both Isa (Nuri Bilge Ceylan) and Bahar (Ebru Ceylan) are lonely people who do not merely want to be in a relationship because of the pressures to conform but are also duly absent from the thoughts of emotional co existence.
The first half of the film situates a modern professional middle class couple on holiday in the Turkish resort of Kas. The selfish and obstinate Isa is a University professor completing his PhD and finding it difficult simply communicating with Bahar (played by Ceylan’s real life wife) who is an art director working on trashy TV dramas. The film opens with a close up of Bahar gazing off screen lost in contemplation – this is the first of many awkward glances and silences exchanged between people who rarely acknowledge each other’s presence. Communication seems to be a burden rather than a natural process.
The thematic motif of gazing is deeply reminiscent of Michelangelo Antonioni who manipulates the clinical framing and composition to expose an uneasy tension between individuals and architecture, foregrounding alienation as a secondary thematic concern. Ceylan shows the gradual estrangement from one another and eventual break up which occurs after a moment of unexpected anger that nearly leads to a fatal accident.
Climate’s is also a film about the study of landscapes. Ceylan is a notable photographer and his eye for shooting landscapes is both poetic and stunningly rendered in the luminous HD cinematography. Another familiar cinematic technique representative of some of the greatest film makers working today is that of the long take. Though this has traditionally been associated with realism, Ceylan uses it to capture the boredom that marks the relationship between Isa and Bahar, and to extenuate natural diegetic sounds that serve as aural anchors for an emotional discontinuity.Ceylan’s new film recently premiered at the