Times and Winds director Reha Erdem keeps matters purposely ambiguous, often not in a good way.
Kosmos (Sermet Yesil) is on the run. From what, we don’t know. He appears to be a thief, running over an endless snow-covered landscape, a wad of money stowed in his shoe. When he miraculously saves a young boy from drowning in a river on the outskirts of a small, desolate outpost, the townsfolk welcome him. Believing he’s been sent from God, they offer him bed and board in exchange for menial work.
Kosmos may have special powers but he’s a simple man. Animalistic in some ways, he believes the body and soul want the same thing. He eats only sugar and speaks almost exclusively in biblical verse. He has no wont for material possessions but steals when he needs money.
His relationship with the townsfolk sours over time as he shows no interest in working for his keep, mooching free tea and abandoning the restaurant he’s supposed to be tending. His stock is highest when he’s useful (performing miracles), but sentiment inevitably changes.
Director Reha Erdem, who impressed with his 2006 film, Times and Winds, keeps matters purposely ambiguous in Kosmos. We learn no history about our enigmatic, Christ-like hero – we can’t even be sure his supernatural gifts are wholly real. Music by moody post-rockers A Silver Mount Zion, and the non-diegetic sounds of bomb blasts, howling winds and police sirens add a sense of desolation and apocalyptic dread, but they feel too calculated and manipulative to seem real or moving.
Interesting philosophies, mostly lifted straight out of the Bible, are mooted but never explored in a wider context. Erdem lessens their impact by diluting and distracting from them with a couple of superfluous subplots (a military wife drug addict and a murder mystery).
One gets the impression that Erdem was aiming at similar territory to Béla Tarr’s Werckmeister Harmonies, with the simple-minded lead, stray dogs fighting and slow-motion shots of animals suffering in a slaughterhouse. But this is most certainly a poor relation.
Director Reha Erdem delivered the miraculous Times and Winds, but there’s been a long delay in the release of this follow-up.
Cryptic and slowly paced, often not in a good way.
It’s an interesting film, even if it’s never clear what Erdem is getting at.