25 janvier 2007

Nuri Bilge Ceylan interview (Climates)

My notes on radio broadcast : L'avventura on France Culture with Laure Adler. (offline now)


  • Inspired by Antonioni : L'Eclisse, L'Avventura, La Notte. (Not especially in Climates though).
  • Formating experience when seeing at 16 yold Bergman's The Silence (1963). Then difficulty to track down more Bergman films (not available in Turkey).
  • Autobiography by Roman Polanski was a transforming experience, that gave him an impulse to become filmmaker.
  • Discovery of Antonioni, Bresson, Ozu, Bergman at the London Cinematheque.
  • Quits film school after 2 years out of 4, to start making cinema. Learns filmmaking by staring in a short movie for a friend.


  • Nuri Bilge Ceylan is a totally independent auteur : screenwriter, producer, camera operator, editor, set designer, director of photography, actor. A filmmaker must learn how to do every trade in cinema not to be slave of standard technique and be able to create a sophisticated film [Bergman said the same thing]. Creativity starts where standard formula ends. He wants to be creative at every stage of the production.
  • He was originaly photographer which helped him to understand the technique of cinema.
  • Use of non-actors (his family) : he likes their spontaneity potential, their resource to give something fresh.


  • Turkey : NBC is a Solitary person, not political bond with Turkey, no special connection with other turkish filmmakers Yilmaz Güney (Yol), so he has the feeling he could live in any country and do the same kind of cinema. Though, he doesn't want to live elsewhere.
  • Iran : The image of Iran changed thanks to Kiarostami and iranian cinema. He thinks people in Iran are like in the movies.
  • Likewise Turkey's art offer a new perspective to the world.
  • Humanistic, meditative, contemplative cinema. Looking at the world through plan sequence. Lots to contemplate, to see in the film. Little dialogue and action.
  • Lots of things happen between people and their relationship with nature. Perception of time, of seasons = cosmic influence on people's lives. Wind, wave in the sea, snow, sun beam... elements of nature remind man of being a tiny dot in the universe, which alters our relation to suffering.
  • Off-centering of self, learning of self-identity. NBC likes his characters to lie, and that the audience be active to figure the smallest gesture that betrays this lie. In Hollywood cinema we usually believe everything the hero says, and he doesn't like that.

"I hate to explain, to insist, to convince : the audience shall guess. (...) I think the point of view of a film should be close to life. As if you observe a couple of strangers in a cafe, trying to figure their relationship, their problems." interview in Libération (01-17-2007)

"People who talk too much always bothered me. Most of is being said is hollow. (...) I never liked when feelings and reflexions are expressed through dialog. I prefer to make my characters say unsignificant things, while the underlaying subtext reveals their feelings and reflexions. I like to show everybody's real-life weaknesses, this superficial side of us." Interview in Les Inrockuptibles (01-16-2007)


  • Clouds of May (1999) was compared to Kiarostami by critics. Life of rural people, joy of contemplating nature.
  • Uzak (2002) Istanbul under snow. Shot in NBC's own appartment. Watching Uzak is like watching a scientist experiment to observe humans like lab animals. Mamut: solitary and depressive afraid of being invaded by a stranger. Mutic game between the 2 men. Problems of vital space. Solitude, despair, delusion. Sounds of nature. Sounds interacts even image is still.


  • Couple fighting to figure if they will part or not. Played by real-life couple of the auteur.
  • Ebru co-wrote the scenario, she was involved in the project at the beguining so him and her were meant to be in the film.
  • Male POV : man is mean, indecise, violent, seductor and woman more innocent, fragile by contrast. Every man by instinct is interested by his friend's girlfriend. 10 commendments "thou shall not covet your neighbor's wife" = Men's competition (unsaid tendency): "I scored more (women) than you".
  • The fact that at the ending the woman is to the East, in the snow, alone, helps the man to love her more because she needs security.
  • HD is the future of cinema whether we like it or not, so better as well master it now. Freedom of images, corrected colors. He filmed some beautiful steadycam shots for Climates but he dropped them all on the editing table to only keep stationary shots, because they didn't feel right. Echo with the still photographer in him.
Another contribution to the "Contemplative Cinema" blogathon at Unspoken Cinema.

7 commentaires:

Marina a dit…

"Discovery of Antonioni, Bresson, Ozu, Bergman at the London Cinematheque."

There was a note of why certain "contemplative cinema" directors have occurred outside the predominant areal (Asia) and I suppose that's when the individual experience comes into force. Or the specifically historical. I'll explain what I mean by that: in Italy, for example, during the 30s when cinema was discovered as a propaganda means and directors were funded, the prime theoretical film texts that were used were the ones by the Russian montage school, blooming at that time. Since Italian directors were being "brought up" by the Russian social cinema, it was natural for it to become realistic, too. Thus neo-realism was born out of a concrete historical context. Imagine what would have happened if in Russia at that time cinema was expressionistic instead...

So, I guess, my point is, such as the case with Nuri Bilge Ceylan, that it is highly definitive who you discover first, what atmosphere of cinema you come to breathe in first. And that may remain close during the entire career of the director, but could also change.

HarryTuttle a dit…

Yes you're right.
Well, that's what happened in Hollywood... they were influenced by German Expressionism (or by the German directors refugeed there), and it gave us the Noir genre.
I wonder what is the social conscience issued from Neo-Realism that still prevails in CC...

johanna a dit…

Wow, this sounds intense.

I was thinking, oddly enough, about neo-realism just today while watching the opening of La Dolce Vita which is one of the few instances of cinema where I'm racked with indecision between laughing and gasping for breath...but my awe of that sequence springs from the intensity of the set-up that still has dynamics all its own -- plenty of time in the set up for the audience to get its bearings and enjoy the shots -- and a very finely tuned pacing to match.

But what really grabbed me was how deeply we are pulled into this world of exclusive celebrity by the juxtaposition of the Christ image with the Thai (?) masks, where we suddenly understand that the very rich choose their own form of worship, and attempt as much control as the Pope in terms of whom the masses may worship in turn.

I can't pretend to know much about neo-realism, but I find the question about what the social consciousness surrounding it may have sparked intriguing.

HarryTuttle a dit…

Are you talking about the star interview sequence in La Dolce Vita? I don't remember what's been said in there...

johanna a dit…

yeah...where Mastroianni (sp?) wants a photograph of the pretentious prig and almost gets away with it. The indicative line, though, (a slight paraphrase, perhaps) occurs when the camera's taken away from the photographer:

"Everybody has a right to their own image."

Paul Martin a dit…

This is a fantastic post, Harry, and I wish I'd seen it earlier (I just found it through Unspoken Cinema). I subscribe to your blog through Bloglines and am wondering why I didn't see it.

As if you observe a couple of strangers in a cafe, trying to figure their relationship, their problems.

That's exactly what I felt when I was watching the film, and Ceylan was absolutely effective in conveying that sense. My short review for the film was written before I started my blog, but is up on IMDB, where I've written:

The film reeks with emotional honesty. It is mature, adult cinema. The story is somewhat cryptic as there are aspects of a collapsing relationship that are never revealed. But unfolding events reveal that everything is not what it seems. And real life is like this - we see something and think we know, but we only know the little glimpse we have seen.

I used the words "mature, adult cinema" because people who have "been around" and experienced life will know how true to life this film is. The silence or quietude in the film is almost a code, that only certain people can understand. It's not spelt out. It's unspoken, but if you've "been there, seen that" you will know. The director speaks to us without words.

chezhian a dit…

nice blog.
very analysing and informative