Archive for the ‘Turkey’ Category

Winter’s Sleep

January 30, 2015


Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s film, Winter’s Sleep, is set in a village in Cappadoccia. Aydin (Haluk Bilginer) is a hotel owner and also a landlord for many of the people in the town. He lives with his young wife, Nihul (Melisa Sözen), and with his sister, Necla (Demet Akbağ). During the course of the film, Aydin gradually becomes aware that many of the people in the town dislike him. He also learns that Nihul and Necla are both unhappy with him.

Winter’s Sleep is about how wealthy people are often unaware of how their actions look to other people or even how these actions affect other people. Aydin writes a newspaper column, in which he makes high-minded pronouncements about how people should behave. Yet when one of his tenants falls behind on his rent, Aydin sends men to take his TV as payment, and they beat up the man when he tries to resist them. Aydin thinks of himself as a generous person, but at times he reveals contempt and mistrust towards the townspeople. When, for example, Nihul forms a charitable group, Aydin worries that they might try to swindle her. Aydin’s wealth creates both a material and a psychological gulf between him and other people.

There are long scenes in this film of Aydin talking to Nihul or to Necla. These scenes may test some people’s patience. (They tested mine.) However, if you stick with this film, it is ultimately rewarding. Ceylan is similar to Chekhov in that he is interested in people who feel unfulfilled in their lives.

A Global Revolution?

June 19, 2013

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The recent protests in Turkey and in Brazil have brought some renewed optimism to this country’s perpetually gloomy Left. In The Daily Kos, Ray Pensador writes:

    We’re here folks. This is the real thing. The global revolution has started. What’s happening in Turkey, and Brazil, as a write this, are not unrelated events. The revelations about how corparatist cartels are using government institutions to cast a wide net of surveillance over the entire population (NSA spying) with the intent of using it as a tool to control, manipulate and exploit the citizenry, is part of the collusion.

I don’t want to sound like Mr. Downer, but I’ve heard this kind of talk before. I heard it after the “Battle in Seattle” in 1999. (I remember Alex Callinicos saying that Seattle was “a fork in the road”. It was more like a speed bump for neoliberalism.) I also heard this talk in the Occupy movement in the fall of 2011. Yet at some point the increasing corruption and criminality of our global economic system is going to produce some kind of sustained fightback. If not now, some time in the near future. Something has got to give.