From out of a snowy, barren landscape, a man appears. He’s running, though from what we do not know. The valley ahead holds a large town, modern in convenience but ancient in design. Just before reaching the town, the man (Kosmos) hears the screams of a girl (Neptun) from the other side of an icy river. Neptun’s younger brother has fallen into the swift waters and drowned. Kosmos pulls the boy from the river and revives him with his mysterious, healing powers. Grateful for this heroic feat, the townspeople welcome Kosmos as an honored guest (a gesture they soon live to regret).

Throughout the film, there’s a constant sense of “us” and “them”. The townspeople fear outsiders, or more specifically, they see them as a threat to the “pristine” way of life they’ve built. Kosmos, through some very confusing dialog (reminiscent of biblical scripture), reminds the town’s inhabitants that it’s not possible to barricade off the outside world–evil and good know no borders.

Kosmos and Neptun turn out to be kindred spirits, painting one another with red nail polish and courting each other with the calls of wild birds. Neptun’s father works in the slaughter house and does not approve of his daughter’s liaison. A clock tower’s minute hand stutters, and the filmmaker’s camera follows a flock of wandering geese through cobblestone streets at tail level. The pounding of artillery resonates throughout the movie as the town’s military strives to maintain a secure border.

The cinematography in this piece is beautiful. The writing may not be for everyone though. If what you seek is a formulaic, obvious-from-the-start story with cookie cutter characters, disappointed you may be. Watch the trailer to get a better flavor of the film’s imagery.

Venue: Seattle International Film Festival, 2011
Country: Turkey, Bulgaria
Language: Turkish
Genre: Fantasy, Drama