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on 14 April 2009
This film is an involving movie about childhood, by turns mesmeric and shocking. It is set in a mountainous, austerely beautiful region of north-eastern Turkey. Three children in their early teens have much to endure, not merely the harshness of their families' day-to-day lives, gouging a living from the unrewarding soil, but a new, yet harsher reality. As membership of the adult world becomes imminent, they are learning what it means to be second best; to be a woman in a man's world, or to be the son who is not only a favourite son but actively despised by his father.

All these stories are entwined with images and moods that resonate with each other. A striking feature of the picture and one that lends the action its dream-like quality is the recurring, shocking and silent sequences that exist outside the narrative, showing the children immobile, either asleep or actually dead, like corpses or murder victims.

The director, Bes Vakit, in this slow-paced but always gripping account of a world that seems at once familiar but alien, conjures up a scintillating visual study of rural Turkey, a country perched uneasily between East and West, and it's interesting that he chooses western music by Arvo Pärt to illuminate his images, though if I have a criticism of the film it's that the music is a little too insistent and intrusive on occasion.

Times and Winds is a cinematic poem, and a film I highly recommend.
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on 12 March 2010
"Bes Vakit", to give it the Turkish title, means 5 times, which are the five times a day that Sunni Muslims are called to pray. The film is in 5 sections corresponding to these - Morning, Midday, Afternoon etc - and the effect is cyclical, creating a rhythm attuned to the seasons and the countryside. This is a hauntingly beautiful film on one level celebrating the simplicity of the rural life and the gorgeous patterns of nature. (The film is set inland from the Aegian coast, where in a matter of kilometres you can step back 200 years from the gaudy tourist strip that has disfigured the coast. Unsurprisingly, the Turkish tourist board sponsored this movie, because one effect is to make you long to be there.) Director Reha Erdem is a photographer and poet as well as a film-maker, and it shows in the many haunting images which are almost stills, where the camera almost stops the action. Perhaps the most significant are a series of shots throughout the movie, where the adolescents who are central to the film are lying almost dissolved into the earth and nature.

However, on another level, this is a film about cycles of abuse, as fathers crush their sons, and then the sons go on to be oppressive fathers. (The one important young female character has a similar relationship with her mother, but this isn't explored so fully.) The two main boys, Yakup and Yildiz, fantasise about killing their fathers, buying poisonous scorpions, making flick-knives, taking the medecines out of Dad's capsules.... But Dad in turn has his Dad, who yells at him for being useless on the land, and relentlessly humiliates him in front of his brother. But by the end you see the truth of the maxim, Beware of what you wish for, because you may just get it.

This is not a film for viewers wanting slick Hollywood-style plot or dialogue. Much of the film is speechless, accompanied only by the sounds of the countryside or Arvo Part's haunting music. One of the things I really like about this film is that no-one talks unless they have to - a characteristic of third-world cinema, which shows up the hollow and implausible chatter of Tinseltown. The director doesn't tell us, he shows us, and he has the courage to let us make our own connections between scenes and images. At one point, for example, we see the boys looking down on a funeral. We know immediately whose funeral it is, without anything being said.

As I said this is a cyclical film, about birth, growing, and death. It is bracing, healthy and wholly enchanting and will reward anyone with patience and an eye to beauty.
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on 27 August 2009
Celebrated Turkish writer-director Reha Erdem followed the international success of his previous films "Kaç para kaç" and "Korkuyorum Anne" with this mesmerising cinematic study of rural daily life in the Turkish hinterland which took home top awards at both the Istanbul and Adana Golden Boll International Film Festivals and secured international distribution.

Özkan Özen proves a surprisingly talented young lead with powerful support from fellow youngster Ali Bey Kayalý and Elit Ýþcan who all seem increadibly natural in there roles whilst Bülent Emin Yarar heads up the adult supporting cast which includes fellow Erdem regular Taner Birsel, Yiðit Özþener and the gorgeous Selma Ergeç.

The talented filmmaker takes his title, which translates as "five times", from the 5-times daily call to prayer that regulates the daily life of the Turkish peasants at the core of this film and divides up Florent Herry's exquisitely cinematography accordingly as it flows from character to character pausing each time to take in the gorgeous Çanakkale countryside.

Can you sing the call to prayer?
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on 15 June 2013
Beautifully shot, this slow-moving film depicts life in rural Turkey by presenting narrative threads from the lives of three teenage children from a Turkish village. It offers some insights into the patriarchal nature of Turkish life and education in Turkey, and its central theme is the relationship between generations seen mainly through the animosity of fathers to sons. The film has its moments of dramatic tension such as when a teenage son opens a window in his father's bedroom in the night hoping that the ensuing draught will exacerbate his chest condition and precipitate his death, or when equally he spills the contents of his father's capsules onto the ground with the same end in view; but this is a thinly-plotted drama without either a very clear sense of direction or obvious narrative arc - more of a 'slice of life' than a story - and the at times overbearing soundtrack and non-naturalistic elements do not sit easily with the slowly meditative flavour of the rest of the film.
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on 7 February 2009
I must say i wasn't overly excited about watching this film, but as it came highly recommended i thought i'd give it a shot. Without giving much away, it beautifully depicts the rural life and culture in Turkey with a twist of melancholly in how the children live their lives on a daily basis.
I don't want to say much more as i believe you should see this film and see for yourselves.
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on 25 May 2010
In this Turkish "coming of age" film, three young adolescent teenagers struggle to come to terms with the pressures of growing up in a tradition-bound rural village community . Their parents seem callous, unintelligent and unaware of the turmoil that their offspring are going through. One teenager hates his father, so much that he plans to kill him (the plans are never carried out, needless to say); another has a crush on his attractive young schoolteacher; the third is constantly put upon by her mother's demands for household help . The film explores the various relationships among the teenagers and the adults, but with no firm conclusion - this is not a film that focuses on a straightforward narrative, but rather one that concerns itself for the most part with mood and atmosphere.

The photography is excellent, though a little repetitive, and the director very effectively places his cast not just in the cobbled lanes of the claustrophobic village but in huge and wonderfully lit rural landscapes. The acting, especially by the amateurs who take the part of the teenagers, is very fine indeed. But while the film captures brilliantly the plight of the youngsters who are growing up, there are some drawbacks.

First, the pace is very, very slow. This is a demanding film and not an entertainment. Don't watch it unless you are bright awake to start with, be prepared to concentrate hard, and make sure that your attention doesn't start to wander. Second, there's the music. The director, Reha Erdem, chose the dark and sorrowful music of Arvo Pärt to accompany the proceedings. A good idea, one might think, taking into account the sadness inherent in the theme, but in fact the music overloads the film with gloom and foreboding, and can be annoyingly intrusive. Third, there's the lack of a strong narrative line. There is a narrative of sorts, but it comes and goes, and tends to be rather elusive. In this, the film is not comparable with Olmi's Albero degli Zoccoli, or Berri's Manon des Sources, and those looking for an up-front, easily navigable story may be a little disappointed. Instead, this is a take-it-or-leave it film, and one that very much leaves the viewer to arrive at his or her own conclusions. So much the better? As always, it all depends on one's point of view.
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on 18 April 2009
Time and Winds [DVD] [2007] If action and adventure movies are your thing then this beautifully filmed observation of life for children maturing into young adults in a sleepy Turkish mountain village is not for you .

The themes are gentle and relative , as the children struggle into adolescence and a future life of limitation and tradition .

On balance I feel some of the conflicting themes could have been developed a little more strongly , but in doing so may have harmed the overall sense of security and belonging also offered by village life , while at the same time forcing social inclusion on its inhabitants.

Definitely one worth watching on a quiet Sunday afternoon .
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on 25 March 2015
Brilliant movie!
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