×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Zephyr

A minimalist but beautifully lensed tale of an abandoned adolescent and the unexpected return of her peripatetic mother.

With:
With: Seyma Uzunlar, Vahide Gordum, Sevinc Bas, O. Rustu Bas, Fatma Uzunlar.

Shot in a stunning location with a mostly non-pro cast, Turkish helmer Belma Bas’ debut feature, “Zephyr,” is a minimalist but beautifully lensed tale of an adolescent and her troubled relationship with her peripatetic mother. Atmosphere ultimately trumps emotional involvement in this mesmerizing mood piece, which bears a stylistic resemblance to the work of Bas’ contemporaries such as Reha Erdem (“Times and Winds”) and Semih Kaplanoglu (“Honey”). Further fest play is indicated.

The action takes place in the picturesque foothills of the eastern Black Sea Mountains near Ordu, where 11-year-old Zephyr (Seyma Uzunlar) is staying with her kindly grandparents (Sevinc Bas, O. Rustu Bas, the helmer’s parents) in their summer holiday home. They lead a simple, traditional life, drinking fresh milk from the neighbor’s cow, foraging for mushrooms in the lush forest and hunting fresh strawberries for jam.

Amid the abundance of this idyllic world, death and absence lurk. Zephyr’s constant questioning about what happens to people when they die is mirrored by poetic visuals of dead animals; even the diegetic song lyrics heard deal with death.

Zephyr (whose name, per press notes, has mythological connotations of jealousy) misses her mother terribly and dreams of her nearly every night. When the mother turns up at last (played by a cast-against-type Vahide Gordum, the pic’s sole professional thesp), only to confess that she will soon depart again, the stage is set for a tragic finale.

On a dialogue level, Bas’ script deliberately withholds conventional context and explanation. Viewers never learn what the mother does, nor why she needs to leave again. Likewise, we don’t know how long Zephyr has been with her grandparents or where they normally live. The press notes provide more information than the film does.

Meanwhile, the exquisitely composed visuals and sophisticated sound design tell another story, one that foreshadows yet doesn’t satisfactorily explain the macabre turn of events in the final reel.

Expanding on the theme of her prizewinning short “Poyruz,” made with much of the same cast and crew, longtime Turkish film festival manager Bas displays greater confidence here, and her central thesps all appear more at ease. Tech credits are pristine.

Popular on Variety

Zephyr

Turkey

Production: A Filmik, FC Istanbul production with the support of the Turkish Ministry of Culture, Cmylmz Fikirsanat, Hubert Bals Fund, Meetings on the Bridge Project Development Workshop. (International sales: Medit, Berlin.) Produced by Seyhan Kaya, Birol Akbaba. Directed, written by Belma Bas.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Mehmet Y. Zengin; editor, Berke Bas; art director, Canan Cayir; costume designer, Nurcan Yilmaz; sound (Dolby Digital), Ismail Karadas; associate producer, Cihan Asli Filiz. Reviewed on DVD, Chicago, Sept. 21, 2010. (In Toronto Film Festival -- Discovery; Tokyo Film Festival -- competing.) Running time: 93 MIN.

With: With: Seyma Uzunlar, Vahide Gordum, Sevinc Bas, O. Rustu Bas, Fatma Uzunlar.

More Film

  • Sarah Bolger's 'A Good Woman Is

    Film News Roundup: Sarah Bolger's 'A Good Woman Is Hard to Find' Bought by Film Movement

    In today’s film news roundup, “A Good Woman Is Hard to Find” and “After Parkland” find homes, Jack Johnson is honored, AGC closes deals on Neill Blomkamp’s latest and Paramount is in talks for a “Power to the People” project. ACQUISITIONS Film Movement has bought North American rights to the thriller “A Good Woman Is [...]

  • Sir Lionel Frost (left) voiced by

    Chris Butler Looks At The Magic Behind Animating 'Missing Link'

    Laika’s latest feature “Missing Link” raises the bar once again for the world of stop-motion, pushing boundaries in scope and visuals. The story of an unlikely friendship between Mr. Frost and his 8-foot yeti buddy Link is one of hope. “Missing Link” producer Arianne Sutner says the message of the film was to “leave people [...]

  • Jonah Hauer-King Prince Eric

    'Little Mermaid' Live-Action Movie Finds Its Prince Eric

    Jonah Hauer-King will soon be a part of the “Little Mermaid” world. The newcomer has been tapped to play Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action remake of the animated classic. At one point, Harry Styles was is in early talks for the role, but ended up passing. Hauer-King has had two screen tests, with the most [...]

  • Peter Caranicas

    Variety's Peter Caranicas to Receive 1st HPA Legacy Award

    Peter Caranicas Variety managing editor, features, will be honored with the first HPA Legacy Award. Caranicas joined Variety as features managing editor in 2008, and currently serves as both deputy editor and managing editor, features. He has developed the editorial franchises Dealmakers Impact Report, Hollywood’s New Leaders, Legal Impact Report and Business Managers Elite. Caranicas also [...]

  • Jack Ryan

    Richard Rutkowski on ‘Jack Ryan,’ Costa-Gavras and Being Nice Abroad

    TORUN, Poland – Speaking at the EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival on Monday, Richard Rutkowski praised the work of Costa-Gavras, offered sage advice for filmmakers working internationally, and offered a glimpse of the fast-paced work faced by cinematographers on high-profile TV series. Rutkowski, whose credits include “Jack Ryan,” “Castle Rock” and “The Americans,” discussed the methods, [...]

  • 'Honeyland' DP on Low-Fi Shooting With

    'Honeyland' DP on Low-Fi Shooting With High-Powered Storytelling

    Filming the Sundance-awarded “Honeyland” in a remote North Macedonia locale without roads or electricity, it was easy to get lost, confesses cinematographer Fejmi Daut. “It was too hard to decide what would be the storyline in the beginning,” said the debut DP, speaking at the 27th EnergaCamerimage cinematography festival in Torun, Poland. The editing process [...]

  • Q A_Joker_Lawrence-Sher_CKK-Jordanki_fot-Maria-Kowalska_11

    'Joker’ Cinematographer on Joaquin Phoenix’s Transformative Performance

    TORUN, Poland – “Joker” cinematographer Lawrence Sher received a rockstar welcome at the EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival on Monday as attendees struggled to squeeze into a standing-room only conference room for a lively and in-depth Q&A session on the making of the box office sensation. Sher appeared equally excited to be at the event. “Obviously [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content