Dry Summer (1963) is the result of 47 days of shooting with a limited crew in Izmir Region, Turkey. Metin Eksan was among the first filmmakers in Turkey to see cinema as an art form. He studied art history and this helped him open his mind towards all forms of art. Dry Summer is a unique experience set on the background of the social unrest and morals of the Turkish people at the beginning of the ’60s, after the military regime had withdrawn. Two brothers share a wealthy land deriving from the welles they own on their land. Osman’s (Erol Tas) greed knows no boundries whatsover as he starts threatening the citizens of the village he will stop the water if they don’t pay him fees. The things start to go out of control once the tension between the inhabitants transforms into violence. Hasan (Ulvi Dogan) is the younger brother looking to get married to Bahar (Hülya Koçyigit) and rasing a family. He doesn’t believe in family betrayal thus accepting what Osman is proposing.
Dry Summer is revolutionary, inventing some ingenious cinematography elements such as ‘mirror light games’ on the faces of the characters in close-up. The use of lighting is made in a certain way that amplifies the message of the scene: the chase of the perpetrators through the corn field or the encounter between Bahar and Hasan. The difficult camera angles are to be noticed and the director did admit that he mounted the equipment wherever he could to get the proper visual result. You often find the camera spinning around or getting a very low angle. An enriching film combining drama elements with social realism and film noir, the restoration of Dry Summer couldn’t have been possible without Martin Scorsese’s World Film Foundation Project. Congratulation once again to all the efforts put into making such master works available worldwide.
photo: movie still, captured from the Blu-ray edition available in the Masters of Cinema Martin Scorsese Presents: World Cinema Foundation collection