A Young Graduate returns to his idyllic hometown – A Town decorated with history and a tourist Hotspot. The options he has are A Teaching job, or a Police Job – Depending on the result of his exam, or he has to convince someone to publish a book he’s written. That, however, is just one of his problems, his father: An eccentric man, a teacher by profession but a gambler by choice is heavily in debt, he, however, cares more about his Dogs, “They don’t judge him, he says”, and exploring a well to discover water in it.
It’s like an anthology, a collection of short stories where we see our protagonist battle questions of morality, religion, love and abandonment. He comes across different characters, a Girl he might have loved, as she stands below the tree, close enough to feel her breath, she informs him of her marriage. He also meets her former lover, a man who can’t handle her abandonment, Sinan boasts of his meeting with her, provoking an attack from the jealous lover. “We need to believe in separation as much as in beauty and love, and to be prepared. Because rupture and separation in wait for everything beautiful” he philosophises.
In his quest to publish his book, he meets people from local government and others who help him in publishing it. But they support only those books which promote tourism or books about the valour of our men – They’re proud of having the oldest battlefield, while Sinan is interested in the Old Man who still works there. He also meets a famous writer, but instead of admiration and advise; he questions his writing, his sarcasm and condescending tone forces the writer to shun him.
He’s bitter and full of rage, and the failure to get a job or write a book is compounded by his inability to embrace his feelings towards his father. He loves him, and deep inside relates with him more than anyone else – Yet when he publishes his book, he only talks about his mother, he can’t understand why did she marry a selfish man like his father? And yet he knows, that he loves him too.
There’s a scene when 300 Liras are missing from his pocket, he had saved them to publish his book, no one is seen coming inside the house, and it seems obvious that his gambling father took the money, yet he can’t convince himself to take his name, instead he shouts that whoever took it, should return it. His father sensing the doubt later provokes him by saying that he’s going to return in a taxi and if he wonders from where did he get the money? – He keeps inciting him to take his name, yet he prefers to ignore and leave.
He also meets an Imam, a local priest in the mosque – He catches him (The Imam) unawares as he steals the apple from someone’s tree, the forbidden fruit. There’s a discussion on religion and blindly accepting fate, the conversation meanders towards his Father’s ethics, The Imam says, He was a Good man, to which he replies, but don’t you make money through the same people you condemn?
Through Sinan, Nuri Bilge Ceylan raises many important questions – Why do we blame fate only when things go wrong? Why do we quote only those who are famous? How can a man give a gift if he still owes debts? Can a person be selfish yet be a good man? Can you judge someone when you aren’t blameless? He brings forward the hypocrisy of society and makes us question the ambiguity of morality.
The film is over 3 hours long. In the hands of a less able director it would have come across as preachy and annoying. However, Ceylan never lets us lose interest. Even when dealing with profound questions of life, he manages to amuse us. There’s a scene where the family is watching something on TV; where every character is being overly dramatic – It’s in stark contrast with the nature of film where minimalism is preferred over histrionics.The camerawork is terrific where the audience is transported to the city of Can. Among the Wild Pear Trees, throughout the 3 hours it feels like you’re moving with Sinan to his road to acceptance – Of his city, of his life and of his family.
“People should float a little. In time, good and bad memories should merge, and dim and melt away, there are those that should stay too, carving a notch in time” – These excerpts from his book, rejected by the majority, but loved by his father, capture the essence of the film. His father did say that some people are like Wild Pear Trees – Growing by accident, unwanted by the world, but they stand tall, unperturbed and unmoved by the opinion of others. He also says” Sometimes I enjoy a Wild Pear myself”, even a deserted, wild tree, could bear a fruit that might be someone’s delicacy.