Beyond the Hill hits Tribeca after Berlinale premiere
by Boyd van Hoeij
23/04/2012 - Turkish first-time filmmaker Emin Alper got a special mention in the Best First Film category at the recent Berlinale for his elegiac yet hard-hitting Beyond the Hills.
The film, written by the director, had its North American premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival , which is currently under way, and might interest a local distributor familiar with Turkish cinema and filmmakers such as Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Once upon a Time in Anatolia [trailer]), Özcan Alper (Autumn [trailer]) and Reis Celik (Tales of Intransigence).
Newcomper Alper and the previously mentioned directors all display a profound interest in characterizations, as well as very careful consideration of the surrounding landscapes and what these surroundings can betray and suggest about the people that populate them (almost a necessity of this kind of cinema, where subtlety makes it seem as if nothing much is happening at all for inattentive viewers).
As would be appropriate for a film called Beyond the Hills, both the threat that sets the menacing tone and the violence that makes the results visible and the precise cause-and-effect relationships up for discussion.
A feud is raging on the rural estate of the elderly Mr. Faik (Tamer Levent), who accuses (unseen) vagrant nomads from the titular mountain spot of trespassing on his lands with their hungry cattle. As an act of defiance, he has stolen one of their goats with his burly aid (Mehmet Ozgur) on the occasion of the arrival of his adult son (Reha Ozcan) who has arrived with his teenage sons.
It slowly emerges that most of the characters are in fact hiding something (and not all the point-of-view shots of the director correspond to what all characters are able to see) and that the shadowy presence of a threat lurking behind the hill is an easy scapegoat for all kinds of matters, great and small, a point that Alper makes with finesse.
The film was produced by Bulut Film, Alper Film and Two Thirty Five.