"The film itself (his first!) isn't as powerful as his most recent films, but it's a glorious movie nonetheless, and can definitely be read in scenes and gestures as a prototype of his later works."
Beginning his career as a photographer, Ceylan's films have continued to have that ethos of the photographer within them — a keen eye for life, for small moments, for gorgeous framing and blocking. Ceylan's films also have a terrific tactility to them; close-ups of faces, heads, fingers, and the profound and equally perverse relationship between nature and people give this and his other films a heightened sense of his characters' sensory experiences within a space.
The film itself (his first!) isn't as powerful as his most recent films, but it's a glorious movie nonetheless, and can definitely be read in scenes and gestures as a prototype of his later works. The Small Town ostensibly opens with a scene in a classroom, and a few things happen — a girl reads a book aloud to the class, a young boy leaves his desk to help himself to a glass of water and watches a man careening down a tall hill covered with snow far outside the window, the teacher investigates a poorer child's rotting lunch, a young boy arrives late to the class covered in snow, and proceeds to hang his wet socks up on the classroom's heater. In the invisible shift between these moments lies Ceylan's powerful directorial instincts; it's positively balletic how this classroom observation unfolds — and too, how Ceylan approaches storytelling.