Wri/Dir: Emin Alper | Turkey, Thriller 129′
Emin Alper made his debut with Beyond the Hill, a searing psychological thriller centred on a family holiday. Burning Days, screening in competition at this year’s ANTALYA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, seethes with the same savage sense of dread as his previous genre thriller Frenzy (2015), taking us deep into a remote corner of southern Turkey where it tackles poverty, corruption and homophobia in a close-knit village of Yaniklar, dominated by its authoritarian mayor.
Emre (Selahattin Paşali), a clean-cut young prosecutor, represents the progressive city-dwelling face of modern Turkey, arriving from Ankara to bring order, respect and social justice to the chaos of the traditional, populist movement that thrives on corruption and nepotism in the rural backwater.
The sound of gunfire greets him as a slaughtered wild boar is dragging its bloody entrails through the streets. A drought had caused vast sink holes to open up in the desert wasteland beyond the town, not to mention a plague of rats. But Emre faces a far more serious issue in this seedy community – that of homophobia – when he forms a bond with Murat (Ekin Koc) the owner of the local newspaper.
Once again Alper generates a creeping feeling of dread and genuine fear for his earnest, upstanding central character who soon finds out the mayor’s influence overrides law and order, using the microcosm of Yaniklar to explore Turkey’s modern malaise in an absorbing and visually striking arthouse parable that sees the past in conflict with progress. MT
BEST DIRECTOR – EMIN ALPER and 7 other awards | NATIONAL FEATURE COMPETITION | ANTALYA FILM FESTIVAL 2022 | CANNES FILM FESTIVAL PREMIERE