Memories of the Wind

2015 [TURKISH]


Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

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1.14 GB
Turkish 2.0
24 fps
2 hr 6 min
P/S 8 / 13
2.12 GB
Turkish 2.0
24 fps
2 hr 6 min
P/S 6 / 22

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by / 10

Reviewed by barev-850947 / 10

A long oblique Turkish View of the effects of the Armenian Genocide 30 Years later

MEMORIES OF THE WIND (Rüzgâın Hatıraları) Written and directed by Öscan Alper, starring Onur Saylak and Sofya Khandamirova. image1.jpeg Film poster is a panorama of haunting faces in a haunting Turkish film

Shown in the Coup de Coeur (From the heart) sectıon out of competition, but nevertheless one of the Big films of the festival, this is an extended poetic meditation on the 1915 Genocide of the Armenians in Turkey. In a way a followup to Faith Akin's 1914 "The Cut" but even more politically daring in that it was made by a Turk resident in Turkey, rather than an oversees Turk in Germany. Significantly it is now beginning to look like mentioning the Armenian Genocide in Turkey is no longer quite the absolute government sanctioned taboo and violation of Turkish law it has been until now. The hero of Mr. Alper's film is ARAM an Armenian artist living in Istanbul in 1943 at the height of World War II. Although Turkey is nominally neutral in the war the government definitely favors Hitler. The film opens in his studio where a beautiful young woman is posing for him in the nude. When she leaves he visits the office of an Armenian friend who is the publisher of an opposition magazine. He has recently published an article discussing Turkish collusion with Nazi Germany. The publication building is raided by a government backed mob out to lynch "the Dirty Communists".

Aram barely escapes and takes refuge momentarily in a cinema where news footage is being shown of Hitlers military triumphs in Europe. His friend arrives and advises him that it is no longer safe for him to remain in Turkey with the implication that a second Armenian genocide may be in the making. The rest of the film traces Aram's escape route all the way across Turkey to the Soviet Georgian border which is closed and heavily guarded. For the bulk of the film, Aram the city intellectual, is forced to hide out in a remote log house inhabited by a Gruff Russian speaking older man, bearded Mikhail, and a pretty young Russian girl, Meryam, from Sotchi across the border, until the spring thaw when there will be a possibility of slipping over the border to safety. The relationship between the older man Mikhail and young Merjem is not completely clear but she seems to be more of an unwilling servant than a devoted spouse.

Isolated in a magnificent mountain landscape and a primitive forest, taken in as a temporary guest by this primitive living couple, Aram continues to make sketches and write poetry in his room upstairs, as he despairs more and more of ever escaping. In a series of carefully inserted flashbacks -- the memories of the titular wind - we see that his entire family was wiped out in the 1915 massacres and he alone, a youngster, perhaps a teenager at the time, escaped by walking over an endless flat plain as if in a surreal Di Chirico landscape. The bulk of the film takes place in the rugged cabin and glorious rain swept landscape with very little dialogue and slow visual revelation of the gradual attraction between the girl, Meryem, and Aram which culminates in their physical union when Mikhail, the master of the house is away on a trip for several days.

This will lead to severe complications and another desperate flight, this time Aram and the girl who has had enough of this rugged life with roughhewn older Mikhail, when Turkish soldiers raid the house having been advised of the runaway Armenian's presence by a treacherous village informant. The ensuing chase will end on a small wooden boat with the new lovers trying to elude Turkish soldiers shooting at them from the shore. Did they make it? -- or were they struck down by the firing from the shore? -- Hard to say as the films goes very into very slow whiteout ... to soft plaintiff music which, sparingly used, is another poetic aspect of this long slow meditation on the Armenian genocide perpetrated in Turkey in 1915 just a hundred year ago --and its lingering effects thirty years later. Haunting from beginning to end.

Reviewed by l_rawjalaurence4 / 10

Long-Winded, Confused Historical Drama

For those who enjoyed director Özcan Alper's previous movies, SONBAHAR (2008) or GELECEK UZUN SÜRER (2011),RÜZGARIN HATIRALARI (MEMORIES OF THE WIND) is a major disappointment.

The plot is a straightforward one. In 1943 an Armenian publisher (Onur Saylak) is forced to leave İstanbul as part of a government- initiated scheme to tax ethnic minorities as a prelude to removing them from positions of power and influence. He flees to the Black Sea countryside, where he spends time with a local burgher (Mustafa Uğurlu) and his Russian wife (Sofya Khandemirova). The publisher has an affair with the wife, causing the burgher to ask the publisher to move to a lonely log-cabin in the forest. Eventually the authorities catch up with the publisher with inevitable consequences.

In political terms, Alper's film invites us to consider the impact of the past on the present. He not only refers to the 1943 pogrom, but references the events of 1915, when Armenians were forced out of their homes by their Ottoman rulers and either forced to live as refugees or massacred if they resisted. Through such strategies we are invited to reflect on whether we are all outsiders in some way, trying futilely to resist oligarchic powers.

The film also draws on the metaphor of the forest as a place for self-discovery. In forging a life in a log cabin, the publisher acquires some form of self-knowledge, learning how to chop through his mental as well as the physical forest to perceive the reality underneath. The experience of isolation teaches him something about himself.

Yet such issues are contained within a dramatic form which can be most charitably described as tedious. Alper is fond of the long shot, inviting us to reflect on the mise-en-scene, a technique favored by other contemporary Turkish directors such as Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Whereas Ceylan uses such shots for thematic purposes, Alper's use of the same technique seems rather superficial, designed to slow narrative development to an ungainly crawl rather than making any particular point.

The characterization is also perfunctory; we learn little about the three protagonists' backgrounds, and hence care less about their destinies. The sex-scene involving the wife and the publisher is embarrassing in the extreme, involving a series of guttural grunts with no real commitment to the story on the actors' part. By the film's end - flagged up about thirty minutes before the final shots - we feel that they somehow deserve what happens to them, for the sheer sketchiness of their performances.

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