Tatil Kitabi (Summer Book), Seyfi Teoman’s debut feature revolves around Ali, a 10-year old from a small provincial town in Turkey’s south. He lives with his mother and aging father in Silifke. The wealthy by small town standards father runs a farming business. His mom is a homemaker. In the course of his summer vacation , their peaceful and quiet life gets interrupted by the elderly father’s death from a brain hemorrhage.
It is a tragedy yet not uncommon in human life. And that is how it is depicted in Summer Book, as close as it gets to what many of us experienced after the passing away of a loved one. Parents, brothers, spouses die, life goes on. The death of the father does not change the pace of their lives.
There are problems in the lives of Ali and his family, some big, some small. We get a chance to know them from how they deal with those issues. Ali has his first encounters with life’s troubles, his life is not miserable but challenges are more than scarce. Being raised by an aging father he can hardly communicate, he is perhaps more naive than boys of his own age. Veysel, his older brother who returns from military boarding school seeks a way out of military life and considers leaving the school to continue his education at a civil university. His uncle, Hasan advises him to stay on the “safe path”. This is perhaps not just a good willed old-fashioned advice from a thoughtful uncle. Hasan, once an aspiring businessman himself, is inclined to take over his brother’s orange orchard.
In Summer Book ambitions, desires are all toned down, however undeniably at work behind the scenes, as in Hasan’s calculated actions or in Veysel’s long gaze at the young woman on the beach.
Seyfi Teoman rewards the patient audience with this little perfect movie that captures the elusive sense of life in Turkey’s provincial south. Already with a critically acclaimed second feature, Our Grand Despair, under his belt, he is surely one of the most exciting young directors in Turkish cinema.
You can watch Tatil Kitabi (Summer Book) online on Ximon.