Turkish film director Reha Erdem made a name for himself on the European circuit with his impressive 2006 feature Times and Winds which explored the complex journey of boyhood to manhood. Where that film dealt with the passage of time through the theme of maturity, Kosmos is about one man’s timeless journey where the origin and destination are decidedly unclear.
We first meet a bedraggled Kosmos (Sermet Yesil) fleeing across an icy landscape near the Turkish city of Kars where he comes upon a young boy who has seemingly drowned in a river before pulling him from the water and restoring him to life.
The local townsfolk are so grateful for this incredible deed that they provide refuge for him in their village whereupon he performs more startling miracles, convincing them that he must be a healer touched by God.
Indeed, it does seem apparent that there is something unusual about this man who never seems to eat or sleep and who appears incredibly attuned to nature, scaling the tallest trees with amazing agility and able to mimic animal sounds.
Soon, he forms an unconventional relationship with the boy’s older sister Neptun (Turku Turan) where they frequently communicate with each other through bird-like screeches and embark on literal flights through the air. Kosmos’ odd behaviour, however, soon begins to grate on the townsfolk who are also growing impatient with his tendency to spout self-styled proclamations.
Who or what is Kosmos, exactly? A prophet? Angel? Extra-terrestrial being? He seems all of these things, yet in many other ways he’s very human, albeit in a rather childlike way. Indeed, the villagers’ increasingly hostile reaction to Kosmos can almost be seen as a reflection of our own desire to connect with something deeper, more spiritual, only to recoil in fear and confusion when actually faced with it. Whatever the answer may be, there is no denying that actor Yesil delivers a compelling performance as the mysterious visitor.
Erdem’s surreal fable may lack a straight-forward narrative, but don’t let this put you off; if anything, the precise editing and stunning visuals along with Erdem’s decision to enhance a mood through the use of classical music suggests a filmmaker who’s not simply trying to create a pretentious arthouse piece. As the film heads towards its powerful conclusion we realise Erdem has known exactly what he’s been doing all along.
Kosmos, the winner of the Grand Prix - Golden Apricot Award at the Yerevan International Film Festival 2010, will be screened at The Source Arts Centre in Thurles on Wednesday, January 30th at 8pm. Tickets are priced at E9 (E7 consession and E5 for Film Club members).
Please note that The Source is launching a new season ticket for Film Club members. A season ticket covers you for a whole season which means you can walk straight to your seat on screening nights.