It’s a summer’s day and retired forester Faik is receiving visitors at his country home. His son Nusret has come to visit with Faik’s two grandsons Caner and Zafer. Despite the summer setting however, the mood remains oddly muted. Faik is having problems with the local nomads and is constantly on his guard, while Zafer has been suffering mental problems since his military service. This small group is completed by the family of Mehmet and Meryem and brings together different temperaments and social classes. But conflicts are avoided: it’s all someone else’s fault, that of the nomads, who remain an invisible foe.
The parable-like nature of the film is due in no small part to the magnificent Western landscape in which it was shot. The horizon is constantly hemmed in by walls of rock, the range of movement is restricted and the air is thick with menace. This all allows the film to cleverly play with projections and hallucinations. The idea of sloughing off one’s dark side and externalising it in the Other beyond the hill might serve to bring a group together, whether along family or national lines. Yet this will not prevent drama, acting if anything to encourage it.
- Best Film, Dest Director - Ankara IFF
- Best First Feature (Special Mention), Berlinale
- Caligari Film Prize, Berlinale Forum
- Best National Film & FIPRESCI Award - Istanbul FF
- Best Screenplay, Istanbul FF
- NETPAC Award - Karlovy Vary IFF
- Special Jury Award - Sarajevo FF
- Best Feature Film - Asia Pacific Screen Awards
- Tamer Levent
- Reha Özcan
- Mehmet Özgür
- Emin Alper
- George Chiper-Lillemark
- Özcan Vardar
- BULUT FILM
- TWO THIRTY FIVE (2:35) INC
The influence of director Nuri Bilge Ceylan seems to be rampant in Turkish festival films, and this is one of his more successful heirs.
Director Emin Alper weaves in pointed political and cultural allegory along with elements of (deep breath...) dark comedy, revisionist-westerns, family-dramas, mysteries and horror films. That he's able to deftly balance all of these aspects without losing the audience or sacrificing the film's suspense is all the more impressive.
Beyond The Hill (Tepenin Ardi) is sure to see further festival action following its premiere in Berlin’s Forum sidebar, and could well score some theatrical action in territories where a low-budget Turkish film by a first-time director is not an impossible prospect.
I don’t think artists and filmmakers should highlight social problems all the time... but we are living in the same society and cannot isolate ourselves from it.
Emin Alper was born in 1974 in Ermenek, Karaman. Trained in economics and history at Bogazici University-Istanbul, Alper holds a PhD in Turkish Modern History. His first feature, BEYOND THE HILL (2012), received numerous awards including the Caligari Film Prize at Berlinale Forum and Best Film at Asia Pacific Awards. His second feature FRENZY (2015) premiered at 72nd Venice Film Festival's in Official Selection's competition and received Jury Special Prize. Aside from his filmmaking career, Emin Alper teaches modern history in the Humanities and Social Sciences Department at Istanbul Technical University. His film A TALE OF THREE SISTERS (2019) premiered at Berlinale and won several awards at Istanbul IFF.