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Film in Competition for the Palme d’Or: LES HERBES SÈCHES

This film is presented in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival 2023.

In "The Dry Grasses," Samet, a young teacher in a remote village in Anatolia, has been waiting for his transfer to Istanbul for several years. However, a series of events shatter his hopes and leave him disillusioned. Just when he has lost all hope, he crosses paths with Nuray, a fellow teacher who shares his journey.

Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, "The Dry Grasses" is a captivating drama that explores themes of longing, shattered dreams, and the resilience of the human spirit. Merve Dizdar portrays Nuray, infusing the character with depth and vulnerability. Deniz Celiloğlu takes on the role of Samet, capturing the character's emotional journey with authenticity. Musab Ekici joins the cast as Kenan, adding layers of complexity to the narrative.

Spanning over three hours, "The Dry Grasses" immerses the audience in the Anatolian landscape and delves into the personal struggles and aspirations of its characters. As Samet and Nuray navigate the challenges of their lives, the film examines the universal themes of hope, resilience, and the pursuit of happiness.

The filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan chose an immaculate village covered in snow, swept by icy winds, as the backdrop for his film "Les herbes sèches." A polar landscape is revealed. Samet, a visual arts teacher, languishes in this hamlet, fervently aspiring to get away as far as possible. Despite attempting to introduce new teaching methods, he encounters local conservative resistance. He encourages his students to rebel, to experience love, to seek their authenticity. The teacher describes himself as the shepherd of souls: "If one must watch over sheep, it might as well be done outdoors!" Samet and his colleague Kenan, also his roommate, find themselves accused of harassment by the best student, the one to whom Samet pays particular attention. Perhaps even a bit too much. The dark and manipulative shadow of Samet is unveiled.

The Turkish director creates an atmosphere of uncertainty where appearances are seldom truthful. Declared intentions often differ from actual objectives. The main character, Samet, is brilliantly portrayed by Deniz Celiloğlu. Unpleasant, cunning, malicious beneath the facade of a cynical progressive, Samet sows destruction around him. Nuri Bilge Ceylan excels in the art of twists. Authorities quickly closed the harassment case. Everyone is urged to forget, to move on. However, the two teachers persist in trying to understand everyone's motivations. The film quickly abandons this storyline to venture into other horizons. A truly excellent film.

Article written by Nizzar H.

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