Review: ‘Beyond the Hill’

An eye-catching parable about scapegoating and the multitude of sins it covers, "Beyond the Hill," from debuting Turkish helmer-writer Emin Alper, is a deliberately paced drama set amid the scenic hills of central Anatolia.

An eye-catching parable about scapegoating and the multitude of sins it covers, “Beyond the Hill,” from debuting Turkish helmer-writer Emin Alper, is a deliberately paced drama set amid the scenic hills of central Anatolia. Appealing more to the intellect than to the emotions, the low-budgeter is most interesting for the way it uses the stunning landscape, at times adopting Western iconography. The powerful visuals, as well as a special mention garnered in Berlin’s first feature competition, should pique fest programmer interest.

Retired forester Faik (Tamer Levent) lives on ancestral land and displays a feudal attitude toward his secretly rebellious sharecropper Mehmet (Mehmet Ozgur). Faik believes nomads from beyond the hill are deliberately destroying his poplar trees. When his hedonist son Nusret (Reza Ozcan) and grandsons Zafer (Berk Hakman) and Caner (Furkan Berk Kiran) come to visit, Faik’s obsession with the unseen nomads masks bad behavior on the part of the other men, as well as Zafer’s mental breakdown. Romanian-born lenser George Chiper-Lillemark (“Adalbert’s Dream”) imbues the landscape with a sense of impending threat. Accomplished soundwork also builds tension, with a climactic burst of martial music driving home the parable aspect.

Beyond the Hill

Turkey-Greece

Production

A Bulut Film, Alper Film, Two Thirty Five production. Produced by Enis Kostepen, Seyfi Teomani. Co-producer, Nikos Moutselos. Directed, written by Emin Alper.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), George Chiper-Lillemark; editor, Ozcan Vardar; music, Inanc Sanver, Volkan Akmehmet; art director, Ismail Durmaz. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Feb. 10, 2012. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Tamer Levent, Reza Ozcan, Mehmet Ozgur, Berk Hakman, Banu Fotocan, Furkan Berk Kiran, Sercan Gumus, Sevval Kus. (Turkish dialogue)

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