After winning the Palme d’Or in 2014 for his heartbreaking “Winter Sleep,” Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan returned to Cannes this year with another sprawling drama, albeit one that offers a glimpse at the filmmaker’s more playful side. “The Wild Pear Tree” follows the fraught relationship between a father and son, aided by some surprising (and often charming) deviations into the more fantastical elements of life.
Per its official synopsis, “Sinan (Aydin Doğu Demirkol), an aspiring writer, returns home after university hoping to scrape together enough money to publish his first novel. He wanders the town encountering old flames and obstinate gatekeepers and finds his youthful ambition increasingly at odds with the deferred dreams of his gambling-addict father (Murat Cemcir). As his own fantasies mingle with reality, Sinan grapples with the people and the place that have made him who he is.”
In his Cannes review, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote: “The narrative’s gradual pace remains an acquired taste, but anyone willing to engage with Ceylan’s slow-burn approach will find his variation on an accessible formula — it stretches and magnifies the details of its character’s dilemma while pushing him along an impactful journey at a leisurely pace. Rise to the challenge, and payoff awaits on the other side: a formulaic story transformed into something more perceptive and profound. If only more family dramas took such care to get the details right.”
The film has drawn comparisons to “Death of a Salesman” and “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” and has also been hailed as one of Ceylan’s most personal and funny films to date. The film has been entered as Turkey’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2019 Oscars, following in the steps of both “Winter Sleep” and Ceylan’s previous feature, “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia.”
The Cinema Guild will open “The Wild Pear Tree” at New York City’s Film Forum on January 30, with more dates and cities to follow. Check out IndieWire’s exclusive first trailer and brand new poster for “The Wild Pear Tree” below.