Dry Summer (1963) – Metin Erksan

The Directory in DK Canada’s The Movie Book is continuing to supply exceptional films from around the globe, and today’s entry is a Turkish film that strikes a familiar chord about possession and greed.

The story follows a pair of brothers, Osman (Erol Tas), and Hasan (Ulvi Dogan), a pair of farmers that are caught up in a dispute with their neighbours, all caused by Osman’s greed and need to own and control all he can… including Hasan’s new wife, Bahar (Hulya Kocyigit).

Osman operates on the belief that since a spring of water is on his land, it’s his, and he has first rights to it. Consequently, he builds a dam to irrigate his own fields before returning the flow to the rest of the village at night.

Hasan doesn’t believe this is the right or just thing to do, but as the younger brother goes along with what the elder dictates. Violence and feuds erupt between the village and the brothers, and they begin to take victims (and as a warning to viewers there are two disturbing moments of actual animal death shown in the film).

The violence causes Hasan to be sent to prison, allowing Osman to work to take possession of the other thing he desires. Bahar.

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Osman’s presence in the film is overpowering, from the way he’s shot (dominating the frame, usually in the foreground and many times with a weapon, or something that could be used as one – there’s a sense of menace to him) to the sheer presence Tas brings to the role.

Unfortunately for Osman, and as unlikely as it is in real life, Osman receives his comeuppance by film’s end, and moral justice after a fashion prevails. The entire way through the film though, I was thinking how prescient the story is, especially if you see Osman as a corporation.

It wants to take everything, control it all, and let those it sees as less than, squabble over what is left. Stealing resources which are everyone’s right, and attempting to control them for their own benefit.

Honestly, that’s all I kept thinking of through the whole film.

It’s a very powerful film, and it’s well shot, and put together. I won’t lie the cruelty to the animals in the film is very jarring, and upsetting, and served to oust me from the film, but the story and the performances truly are solid – which is not an excuse.

So be forewarned, but also find a way to see this classic film, or pick up a copy of DK Books’ The Movie Book and find a new to you classic to watch tonight!

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