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Acquisitions – Foreign Films

All Along the… Film Movement Find Companionship with Pelin Esmer’s Watchtower

Turkish filmmaker Pelin Esmer made her narrative feature debut in 2009 with 10 to 11, a meditative drama about a man and his collections, which was well received in the festival circuit earning several awards. Esmer returns with her sophomore effort Watchtower, the film premiered at the TIFF and has now been picked up for North American distribution by Film Movement. Just recently shown at Rotterdam, a small New York City release is expected along with the traditionally VOD route.

Gist: An unlikely relationship is formed when Nihat, a man haunted by his past, seeks isolation in an observation tower in rural Turkey only to find companionship in Seher, a young woman with an equally sketchy record. Judging by the trailer, the film feels evocative and mysterious, all of it wrapped up in a series of beautiful landscapes, and perfect tablous.

Worth Noting: Director Pelin Esmer got started as an AD for documentaries in her native Turkey; she then went on to direct her own feature docs in the early 2000’s (Oyun, The Collector). Esmer finally made her transition to narrative films in 2009 (10 to 11), a debut that positioned her as a promising auteur.

Do We Care: As with her previous work, Esmer’s latest focuses on peculiar characters, and their connections with each other and their environment. Watchtower appears to be a rustic character study of the best kind-poetic, personal, and thoughtful. It is evident that in recent years Turkish cinema has produced very profound cinematic statements coming from the likes of Nuri Bilge Ceylan or Fatih Akin; Esmer’s work seems to be joining their ranks with an added feminine perspective.

Originally from Mexico City, Carlos Aguilar is a Los Angeles based filmmaker/film journalist who has covered AFI Fest, COLCOA, and the Los Angeles International Film Festival. Top Films From Contemporary Film Auteurs: Almodóvar (Talk To Her), Coen Bros. (Blood Simple), Dardenne Bros. (Rosetta), Haneke (The White Ribbon), Hsiao-Hsien (Three Times), Kar-wai (In the Mood for Love), Kiarostami (Close-up), Lynch (Blue Velvet), Tarantino (Kill Bill vol.1), Van Sant (Elephant), von Trier (Dogville)

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