A gorgeous film, shot in a quasi neo-realist style that nonetheless aims squarely at poetry and critique; clearly influenced by John Ford Westerns in its use of landscape; with shoot-outs staged amidst minarets and water fountains, horses vying with jeeps. A structure reminiscent of Angels With Dirty Faces in that two childhood friends end up on different sides of the law. With the great Yilmaz Güney as a father caught between a rock and a hard place — does he continue smuggling sheep across the border; the only option to feed his people; or does turn to farming that might not render enough to feed everyone but allow the school to come in that might offer a better life for his son? It’s a film where one feels the heat, the thirst, the despair; an existential noir amidst the barren landscape; with a great feel for places and the people who inhabit them. Güney as the father has something of Clint Eastwood’s granite iconicity about him but with life and feeling behind the eyes. Restored in 2013 by Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, Dadaş Films, and the Turkish Ministry of Culture. Restoration funded by Doha Film Institute
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The film is currently available to view on MUBI in the UK.
José Arroyo and Richard Layne