Saturday, May 17, 2008

Cannes | From Turkey with love: return of one of Cannes favourite sons

From Turkey with love: return of one of Cannes favourite sons

CANNES, France (AFP) — One of Cannes' favourite film-makers, Turkey's Nuri Bilge Ceylan, returned to the film festival offering a breather from hard-hitting movies on social themes with a highly personal family drama.

Ceylan, almost 40 and already winner of a batch of awards for his first four features, is regarded as one of the most distinctive film-makers of the last decade.

His latest offering, "Three Monkeys", a searing family tragedy revolving around jealousy, is his third appearance in competition at Cannes, where the movie is tipped as a front-runner among the 22 vying for the festival's prestigious Palme d'Or award.

"The film is about life, about many things, about the inner world," he said Thursday. "I don't make films on this or that as that is too didactic. And by the time I've ended a film the idea may have changed."

After running over a man at night, a politician running for election bribes his driver to claim responsibility for the accident. But while the man is in prison, the politician seduces the driver's wife, and her son , a young adult, sees it all.

Ceylan, maker of "Uzak" and "Climates", is a master of psychological subtlety and intimacy, shooting meticulously beautiful images helped by his use of high-definition digital video.

"Digital is easier to edit, cheaper and gives you more control over the level of acting," he told AFP. "My style is to have lots of material, I like to shoot the same scene several times, with an actor perhaps crying in one scene and then laughing in the next. Then I decide which I like best."

In "Three Monkeys", Ceylan focuses his camera strictly on the four characters, showing how the family opts to stick together by playing blind, deaf and dumb to problems that should in all logic split them apart.

"I find the family quite tragic in life, it's one of the most tragic things in life," he told AFP. "I suffered a lot from that. I feel that in a family what they live is a summary of society, of life.

"In life people often behave as if they didn't see, didn't hear, didn't say. That is how we protect ourselves so as not to suffer."

After two days of hard-hitting films focussing on global issues and social problems, Ceylan, along with France's first entry "A Christmas Tale", struck a different note, at the festival.

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