Dir. Sezen Kayhan
Sezen Kayhan’s Erik Zamani (Time of the Plums) follows a little girl with a secret, and the enigmatic, animated way she perceives. The film also captures something of Toni Morrison’s or Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s magical realism. Erik Zamani is set in the real world but vibrates with imaginative energy: pink and purple chimes tinkle as the protagonist (the unnamed little girl) walks by; yellow sun falls on her grandfather’s face so she can see every contour and shadow. The most striking image of the film is a painting that melts to the little girl’s touch: as the colors run together, the face in the painting morphs through grotesque and gorgeous shapes. This shot alone makes it difficult to imagine Erik Zamani is a student film.
Kayhan also pays great attention to sound design. Ambient noises are amplified, and form a striking contrast against silent moments. Both become uniquely important to the story and the little girl’s perception, as well as the viewer’s. As integral as the visual is, the aural landscape of Erik Zamani creates the feeling that objects have a life of their own.
As the close tie between character and environment suggests, meaning comes from internal realities, not external ones, in Erik Zamani. In contrast to Jean Renoir’s films, for instance, where meaning comes largely from social interactions, inner realities, and the ways they mark one’s experience matter to Kayhan. The world of the film also seems deeply personal, as the last line of the film indicates—this is a world that is thoughtfully, tenderly rendered.