Award-winning Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan wrote and directed "About Dry Grasses," which competes for the Palme d'Or at the 76th Cannes Film Festival. The film on May 19 had its world premiere at the festival.
Ceylan has so far competed in the main competition of the festival seven times and won the Palme d'Or in 2014 with his movie "Winter Sleep."
Ceylan's new film focuses on a young art teacher working in a remote town in Eastern Anatolia and the changes in his life after he meets another teacher. The director said in a statement that he wanted the film to convey the "gradual change" in the personal beliefs of civil servants and teachers who were sent to compulsory duty in Eastern Anatolia at an early age.
Ceylan attended the screening at the festival, which lasted 197 minutes, with the film crew including leading actors Deniz Celiloğlu, Merve Dizdar, and Musab Ekici.
Film critic Guy Lodge from Variety said the following for the movie: “By chapters a bristling classroom drama, a provocative ethics lesson, a bitterly conflicted love triangle and an unsparing anatomy of an everyday misanthrope, it finds Ceylan’s gifts as a dramatist in their finest form since 2011’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Anatolia.’”
Leslie Felperin from the Hollywood Reporter pointed out the underlying themes in Ceylan's movie and said: “Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan continues to explore his homeland’s teeming dichotomies — city/rural, secularism/faith, individualism/tradition, and so forth — in About Dry Grasses, his latest Cannes competition entrant, which revolves around schoolteachers in a remote rural community.“