About Dry Grasses
Samet is an elementary school teacher in an isolated community in eastern Anatolia. He spends his days taking photos of the town’s residents, buying gifts for his favourite pupils, and dreaming of the day when he can relocate back to Istanbul, where he feels his teaching work will really make an impact. After a love letter written by one of his students is confiscated, multiple students step forward to make their discomfort with Samet’s behaviour known. Accused of acting inappropriately and crossing personal boundaries with the students, Samet’s hopes of a transfer to Instanbul begin to grow increasingly less likely.
Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Winter Sleep, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia) is one of the great masters of Turkish cinema. His delicate, patient approach to storytelling feels less like your typical movie, and more like a piece of theatre by Anton Chekhov, or a towering work of literature by Tolstoy or Dostoevsky. About Dry Grasses, which won the Best Actress prize In Competition at Cannes, and screened at TIFF, is his latest masterwork. A film that is much more interested in philosophy, and the complexity of its (very morally grey) characters. This film has been selected as Turkey’s submission to the Academy Awards this year, and is certain to be one of the most acclaimed films of the year.
About Dry Grasses is a difficult film to figure out, but it rewards plenty to those who work to understand. Samet’s story is not always easy to watch, but is a fascinating examination of entitlement, power dynamics, and the egotistical belief that some people simply deserve more than others. As Samet longs to escape his small town life, he truly believes that he is a big fish, held back by his small pond. Every decision he makes is guided by his misguided belief system, which places himself at the centre of the universe. Through the stunning visual work of Ceylan’s camera, and the compelling, dialogue-driven screenplay, About Dry Grasses is a truly special treat for any fans of auteur cinema.