New Internationalist

Time and Winds (Bes Vakit)

September 2008

Written and directed by Reha Erdem

A remote village high on a Turkish mountainside overlooking the sea. Its people live off the land and their animals, their rhythm of life is governed by the seasons and by traditional authority – including the five-times (the meaning of ‘Bes Vakit’) daily call to prayer.

But the children go to school and 12-year-old Yakup is in love with his kindly young teacher from the city. His friend Ömer, is the elder son of the imam, whom he hates for his continual criticism and encouragement and favouritism of his bright young brother. Yildiz works hard at school and to do the household chores her mother gives her. So, it seems, every mother imposes her will on her daughters, and every father his, on his family. And when children are disobedient or inattentive, they are beaten.

Traditional it may be, but it doesn’t diminish how personally Ömer feels parental injustice and hurt, and how much he wants to be rid of his father. So, during a storm, he opens his father’s bedroom window, hoping he’ll catch pneumonia. It’s comic, but also one of the film’s more dramatic moments – this is a beautiful contemplative immersion in the children’s sense of the immensity of time and events.

This column was published in the September 2008 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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