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by Jason Anderson
September 8, 2012 10:21 AM
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TIFF Capsule Review: 'Watchtower'

The two central characters in this modest but effective drama by Turkish director Pelin Esmer want nothing more to be left alone. And until circumstances force them into each other’s lives in Watchtower’s later stages, they are largely able to achieve this goal. That said, it’s an easier task for Nihat (Olgun Simsek), a grief-stricken man who has taken a job as a fire warden keeping watch over the wilderness from his perch in a mountainside tower. A sullen young woman who works at a nearby bus station, Seher (Nilay Erdonmez) has abandoned her university studies for reasons that remain opaque until an angry confrontation with her parents. Though few in number, such outbursts make a considerable impact in Esmer’s study in suffering, which portrays emotional repression not so much as a personal plight for two tormented souls but as a prevailing societal condition that creates a vast landscape of pain extending past the small patch we see here. Criticwire grade: B [Jason Anderson]

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