A terrific movie in the Antonioni tradition, Climates confirms 47-year-old Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan as one of the world's most accomplished filmmakers—handling the end of a relationship, and the cloud of human confusion rising from its wreckage, as if the subject had never before been attempted. Urban professionals on vacation: Bahar is a sullen twentysomething TV art director; Isa, 20 years older, is an overbearing university instructor. The opening sequence alternates between mega close-ups of bored Bahar in the summer sun and long shots of Isa, glimpsed between the pillars of the Roman ruins he's photographing for his still-unfinished dissertation. What is she looking at and what is he looking for? Knowledge that Isa is played by the director and Bahar by his wife, Ebru Ceylan, inflects Climates less toward confessional psychodrama than ultraprofessional acting exercise. Ceylan wants to make certain that his character is understood as a mildly odious, self-pitying passive-aggressive type; his wife's character has the monopoly on inner life, expressed not only by her mood-flickering close-ups but by two dreams. The wonderful ending ponders her face once more. The falling snow substitutes for unshed tears.
Uneasy riders: Ceylan and wife.
Runs at Northwest Film Forum, Fri., March 16–Thurs., March 22. Not rated. 101 minutes.