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Screen/Society -- "About Dry Grasses" (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2023)

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Introduced by Prof. Didem Havlioğlu (Asian & Middle Eastern Studies)

ABOUT DRY GRASSES (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2023, 197 min, Turkey, Turkish with English subtitles, DCP) Samet, a teacher serving mandatory civil service in an isolated village in Anatolia, dreams of a new appointment to a post in Istanbul. But his hopes of reassignment are beginning to fade as he faces another unforgiving winter. His gloomy existence is thrown into further tumult when he's accused of acting inappropriately toward one of his young students. Feeling assailed from all sides, Samet turns to Nuray, a colleague from a neighboring village and fellow wayward soul. Director Nuri Bilge Ceylan (winner of the 2014 Palme d'Or for Winter Sleep) covers this fierce psychological character study with a blanket of snow, backgrounding the proceedings with stunning landscape photography that highlights the harsh beauty and intense realities of Turkish provincial life. Featuring impeccable performances and labyrinthine dialogue, ABOUT DRY GRASSES weaves an intricate web of desperation, hope, and longing. "ABOUT DRY GRASSES is just as much about the harshness of a landscape, which mirrors the spirit of its inhabitants, as it is about a barrage of much more elusive things, rendered tangible by an incredible aesthete's hands: jealousy, shame, intellectual mediocrity, and patriarchy's most vicious of tacit pacts." - Diego Semerene, Slant Magazine

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Featured, Middle East focus, Movie/Film