'Situation normal', the fireman Nihat calls almost every day through his walkie-talkie, to indicate that the forests around the watchtower are not on fire. But in truth a lot is on fire in this indictment of conservative, patriarchal Turkey.
Pelin Esmer does not package her fierce social realism in a noisy or emphatic statement. She chooses a subtle character study, presenting her themes more powerfully through the personal drama of Nihat and Seher.
Nihat is a man with a guilt complex. He lost his wife and daughter in a car crash. Young Seher carries a scandal in her belly: a baby she doesn’t want. They have both withdrawn into a hiding place (him in the tower, her in a cellar), but fate decides that their paths will cross. Cautious overtures follow. Far from the inhabited world, in misty forests, they turn out to be able to help each other as no one else can.
It’s obvious from her direct and honest style that Esmer had previously made documentaries. She isn't afraid to tell it like it is. This forms a sharp contrast to the profound silence within Seher’s family. The cover-up is alive and well, not only among male chauvinists, but also their subservient wives. But behind the walls is where it hurts, as Esmer reveals in this powerful film.