DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

DRY SUMMER (SUSUZ YAZ) (aka: WATERLESS SUMMER) (director/writer: Metan Erksman; screenwriters: story by Necati Cumali/Ismet Saydan/Kemal Inci; cinematographer: Ali Ugur; editors: Stuart Gellman/Turgut Inangiray; music: Manos Hatzidakis/Yamaci; cast: Erol Tas (Osman),  Ulvi Dogan (Hasan), Hülya Koçyigit  (Bahar),  Hakki Haktan (Sari Veli); Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Ulvi Dogan; Criterion; 1963-Turket-in Turkish with English subtitles)

"The black-and-white shot drama has no surprises."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Turkish filmmaker Metan Erksman ("I Cannot Live Without You") is the writer-director of this parable about opposite brothers. It's almost like the OT story of Cain and Abel. The story is by Necati Cumali. The co-writers with Erksman are Ismet Saydan and Kemal Inci. The black-and-white shot drama has no surprises. Although passionately told, the performances were wooden and the story never captured my imagination.

Warning: spoiler alert.

Two brothers, the older widow Osman (Erol Tas) and the younger recently married Hasan (Ulvi Dogan), share ownership of a tobacco farm in rural Turkey. The brutish, conniving and selfish Osman decides to put up a dam and stop his neighbors from receiving the water that comes from a spring on his land. Hasan says its wrong to deny the water and it will result in things getting nasty. The rival farmers argue over the water rights, until Osman's lawyer convinces the judge to rule in his favor. Hasan disagrees with Osman, but he obeys his older brother. When one of the farmer's (Hakki Haktan) dynamites the dam at night, Osman kills him with his rifle. The vile Osman then talks Hasan into taking the blame, claiming he will receive a lighter jail sentence. Hasan is sentenced to 8 years and is soon sent to a faraway prison, while his wife Bahar (Hülya Koçyigit) remains on the farm. The sleazy Osman spies on her while she dresses in her bedroom, and destroys the letters Hasan writes. The duplicitous Osman also fails to support his younger brother, as he promised. Uncontrollably lusting after the sweet Bahar, Osman tells her the lie that her husband died in jail. Osman then forces himself on Bahar. When a new political regime comes into place, Hasan is granted his freedom. Seeking revenge on his deceiving ruthless brother, Hassan fights him in the water and drowns him. He then opens the dam to provide water to the other farmers.

It won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.

REVIEWED ON 12/15/2014       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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