1.0 out of 51.0 out of 51.0 out of 51.0 out of 5 1.0

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If Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Distant is Andrei Tarkovsky directing a sham-spiritual Odd Couple, then his high-definition follow-up Climates is Neil LaBute directing an apolitical rendering of Hiroshima, Mon Amour. Reverse Shot critic Nick Pinkerton is onto something when he observes in his review of Distant that “[the film is] just the sterile flipside of those old, haywire Turk cheapies…where it’s nothing unusual for a Machiavellian Spiderman to tangle with Mexican über-wrestler Santo.” He goes on to give cautious praise to Distant and it’s easy to understand why. Ceylan makes some of the best-looking bad movies around, all off-kilter compositions and vivid landscape photography, populated by characters who aimlessly wander the magical land of ennui in search of the next interminably pregnant conversational pause. You’re half-convinced by the end of Distant that something meaningful has occurred, but it’s all film-fest friendly smoke and mirrors. Ceylan is too much a secular prisoner of his influences, a fact he cops to in Distant‘s best scene where the sell-out photographer Mahmut (Muzaffer Özdemir) toggles his television between Tarkovsky’s Stalker and lesbian porn.

But let’s give credit where it’s due: By casting himself in the lead role of Climates, it’s clear that Ceylan is more than willing to lay down his head on the proverbial chopping block. There’s a huff n’ puff sex scene herein that must be seen to be believed, all revolving around Ceylan’s self-centered professor character Isa, his stiletto-heel clad mistress Serap (Nazan Kesal), and a stray nut (of the completely edible type) evasively rolling along the floor. Would that such conceptual bravery balanced out Ceylan’s When in Doubt…Exhale! style of acting or the film-school pretentiousness of his visual/aural interplay (Roaring wind! Falling snow! Glistening tears! And, do my ears deceive me, is that the rusted windmill creak from Once Upon a Time in the West?). Yet in spite of all its critic-bait window dressing, Climates remains consistently watchable, if for no other reason than its dogged self-seriousness, which helps it attain an—I’m guessing—unintentionally high level of camp hilarity. “Are you bored?” Isa asks his girlfriend Bahar (Ebru Ceylan) at the film’s start. I can only speak for myself, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away from this Euro-art train wreck.

Zeitgeist Films
97 min
Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Ebru Ceylan, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Nazan Kesal, Mehmet Eryilmaz, Arif Asçi, Can Özbatur, Ufuk Bayraktar, Fatma Ceylan, M. Emin Ceylan, Semra Yilmaz, Ceren Olcay, Abdullah Demirkubuz, Feridun Koç, Zafer Saka