Isa, a college professor, is vacationing in Kas with his younger girlfriend, Bahar, who works as an art director in television. Isa and Bahar appear to have been together for sometime, but while in this seaside community it becomes clear that they are drifting apart. While at the beach, Bahar calls an end to their relationship, heading home to Istanbul. As the seasons change Isa and Bahar fall out of touch until Isa travels to the remote mountain location where Bahar has been working. Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Climates is a minimalist portrayal of a failing relationship which focuses more on the male protagonist and how his decisions have impacted the chances the relationship has for success. Early on in the film we see that Isa and Bahar have trouble in their relationship but Ceylan really gives no clue about their past or what happened to make them grow apart. Instead, Ceylan lets the two separate, following Isa where the viewer is given subtle glimpses as to what could have caused this discourse. I'm not sure it's intentional but Isa is not a very likeable character, a man who seems to be in a state of inner turmoil unable to find happiness in the people and/or relationships around him. This is illustrated beautifully in a scene where Isa reconnects with an ex-flame, Serap, that leads to rough, borderline violent, sex. This sequence is not erotic in the slightest as if Ceylan intends to capture the ugliness of human behavior while specifically highlighting Ira's inner turmoil. Ira is a man who sees relationships more about power than love with this being illustrated in his desire to seek out Ira after he learns of her success, leaving Serap behind in a heartbeat. While I don't think a character has to be likeable, I believe Ceylan could have done a lot more to capture the inner-workings of this man. It seems that Ceylan wanted us to feel sorry or pity this man but I was left rather emotionally empty about his situation. Anyone familiar with Ceylan's films will feel right and home with Climates, a film that relies very little on dialogue to convey emotion. This is a film where more happens in the quiet moments of silence with the visual compositions and actor's body language and facial expressions telling the viewer all they need to know. Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Climates is a beautifully composed film that is a good example of minimalist storytelling, though it's not as emotionally resonant as I was hoping.
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