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Nuri Bilge Ceylan- The Early Works

 

 

Kasaba (1997)           The Clouds of May aka 'Mayis sikintisi' (1999)

 


(aka "The Small Town" or "The Town" or "To horio")

 

directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Turkey 1997

 

Told from the perspective of two children, and in four parts, which run parallel to seasons, KASABA describes relationships between members of a Turkish family in a small town. The first part is in a primary school where the family's 11-year-old daughter is a pupil. It shows the social environment to which she has to adopt, and its difficulties. She faces with her feeling of shame and some merciless clues of life...The second part is in spring. We see the girl with her brother, who is four years younger, and their journey to the cornfield where their family are waiting for them. As they pass through the countryside, they encounter the mysteries of nature and wildlife... In the third part the brother and sister witness the complexities and darkness of the adult world... The fourth part takes place at home. This is a tranquil sequence moving between reality and dream.

CLOUDS OF MAY tells the story of Muzaffer, who returns to his native town to make a movie. This May in the town seems to be warmer and gloomier than the previous years. Still, everyone seems to be happy despite their small worries and lives closed for any surprises. However, this happiness is a little disturbed by the arrival of Muzaffer who has made up his mind to shoot a film in this town where he had passed his childhood. His father, Emin, is bent on saving the small forest he cultivates on his property from confiscation by the authorities. His nephew, nine year-old Ali, who wants a musical watch. He has to carry an egg in his pocket for 40 days without cracking it, according to terms of an agreement made with his aunt, who has promised in return to convince Ali's father to purchase this much wanted item for his son. And Muzaffer's cousin, Saffet, who is a young town dweller whose affords are all doomed to failure by bad luck (or is it by his own rebelliousness) and who dreams of going to Istanbul.

Excerpt of review from Artificial Eye located HERE

Theatrical Release: November 28th, 1997

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DVD Review: Artificial Eye (Nuri Bilge Ceylan- The Early Works) - Region 2 - PAL

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Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:23:26
Video

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.18 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Turkish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• Nuri Bilge Ceylan Biography
• Music Video
• Behind the Scenes Featurettes for Both Films
• Theatrical Trailers for Clouds of May and Climates

DVD Release Date: May 28th, 2007
Keep Case

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the folks at Artificial Eye, the works of Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan are accessible to a wider audience and while film goers in North America may be most familiar with some of his more recent efforts like Climates, here we get a double disc release with his first two films. As anyone who’s seen both Kasaba and Clouds of May knows, the two are radically different in terms of style. Kasaba is slow and meditative, with the story often told visually. Clouds of May, on the other hand, is much closer to a traditional narrative, told in a style that reminded me of Kiarostami's The Wind Will Carry Us. While both are excellent cinema, I have to admit liking Clouds of May a little bit more. The cohesive narrative and affable characters simply resonated with me more than the lyricism of Kasaba.

Now, let's talk about the discs. Unfortunately, I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed by the image quality of both releases, as there are more weaknesses than one might expect for films of their age (12 and 10 years respectively). Take Kasaba for instance. Here film contains quite a few instances of speckles and scratches--unusual for a film made only 10-years ago. While the image itself has a n acceptable level of contrast, I suspect that the print source utilized was not in pristine condition. What's more, although the film itself is presented in what I presume to be its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1,  it is letterboxed and non-anamorphic.  Clouds of May contains far fewer scratches and is somewhat hazy in motion at times (see captures 1 & 3), you can't help but hope that a superior transfer will someday appear. Frankly though, I certainly didn't expect modern-image quality out of these releases, but a cleaner transfer with less interference would have improved the presentation.

 


Audio, however, leaves little room for complaint. Mastered in Dolby Digital 2.0, the sound quality is always crisp with little discernible interference in the background. Although the syncing of dialogue in Kasaba may be slightly off at times, it's rarely noticeable. The dialogue was easy to pick out, and for those non-Turkish speakers in the audience, the film comes with eminently accessible (and optional) English subtitles. The music in each film is quite beautiful, particularly that of Kasaba. In fact, in the extras, we get a lovely music video (I'm unsure if Ceylan himself directed it) from the film's clarinet score.

Now for those extras. Aside from the music video, we’re also treated to two behind the scenes documentaries about the making of the respective films. Both clock in at a little over 20 minutes and consist mainly of raw, but subtitled footage of Ceylan and his crew shooting the film. While this footage lacks narration, it’s still interesting to watch them work. As usual, the AE biographies are a scant paragraph along with a filmography. Finally, the disc also includes trailers for both Clouds of May and Climates.

So, despite the qualms that I have about the image, is it worth picking up? Since this is the best presentation of the films that I know of, I would have to say 'yes'. Although I consider the package as a whole less than ideal, I am still thankful to Artificial Eye for making these films available. Recommended.

 - Brian Montgomery

 


 

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(aka "The Clouds of May" or "May Clouds" or "Magiatika synnefa" or "Majskyer" or "Nuages de mai" )

 

directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Turkey 1999

Theatrical Release: December 10th, 1999

Reviews        More Reviews         DVD Reviews

Runtime 2:09:40
Video

16:9 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.88 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Turkish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 16:9

Edition Details:

DVD Release Date:
Transparent Keep Case

Chapters 12

 



DVD Menus
 

 


Screen Captures


Subtitle Sample

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL



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