A man is shipwrecked and finds himself alone in a remote mountain village. He can’t remember his name, his crew, how his ship was wrecked, or anything else about his past. He only knows that he now finds himself in village on top of a mountain, far from any sea, among people whose language he doesn’t know.
After contacting the village head, he is given a spider-filled room, where he is to teach the village children his language. Slowly he strikes up a rapport with some of the inscrutable locals, and the notes that he jots down in a battered notebook form the basis of Ferit Edgü’s mysterious novel, in which the line between dreams and reality is always highly ambiguous. As the poet Melih Cevdet Anday is quoted on the back cover: “It’s not enough to consider this a realist novel. It’s an astonishing story about the unbelievable dream that is reality.”
The “season” of the title is winter, which blankets the isolated village in a thick layer of snow, naturally put to good metaphorical use by the author Edgü. An epidemic of some sort grips the villagers, leading to the death of a number of children, and the teacher desperately tries without success to secure a doctor or medicine from the nearby city.
Meanwhile, one of the locals, a man named Halit, starts to pay regular visits, telling him a chilling tale of a murder that took place recently. Surrounded by such barely decipherable tales and logic, and constantly confused about how he ended up in the village, we witness the teacher undergo a kind of internal journey, as “both a teacher and a student”:
A Season in Hakkari (Turkish: Hakkari’de Bir Mevsim) is a 1983 Turkish drama film directed by Erden Kiral. It was entered into the 33rd Berlin International Film Festival, where it won the Silver Bear – Special Jury Prize.
A Season in Hakkari (1983)
Directed by: Erden Kiral
Starring: Genco Erkal, Erkan Yücel, Serif Sezer, Rana Cabbar, Berrin Koper, Erol Demiröz, Macit Koper, Zeynep Irgat
Screenplay by: Onat Kutlar
Cinematography by: Kenan Ormanlar
Film Editing by: Yilmaz Atadeniz
Distributed by: Gent
Release Date: February 20, 1983 (Berlin International Film Festival)