Dry Summer

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Dry Summer
Directed byMetin Erksan
Produced by
Written by
Music by
CinematographyAli Uğur
Edited by
Release date
  • 1964 (1964)
Running time
90 minutes

Dry Summer (a.k.a. Reflections; Turkish: Susuz Yaz) is a 1964 black-and-white Turkish drama film, co-produced, co-written and directed by Metin Erksan based on a novel by Necati Cumalı, featuring Erol Taş as a tobacco farmer, who dams a river to irrigate his own property and ruin his competitors. It is also available in an English dubbed U.S. theatrical release titled Reflections produced by William Shelton and edited by David E. Durston.

Martin Scorsese has supported the film's preservation and it is available on DVD.


Osman decides to dam the spring on his property because he knows the summer will be too dry to support all the farmers who rely on its waters. His younger brother Hasan urges him not to dam the spring, but reluctantly goes along with him. The farmers are furious with Osman. They initiate a legal dispute. Osman is ordered to keep the spring open while the dispute is being resolved, but he disobeys this order. Hasan occasionally opens the dam out of pity for his neighbors, but Osman is quick to close it again.

Meanwhile, Hasan courts and marries a young woman named Bahar. On their wedding night, Osman bursts into their bedroom and orders Bahar to breed as many as 10 children for the family. Hasan has to put a dresser in front of the window to block out his drunken brother. Osman finds a crack in the wall and watches the consummation.

One of the farmers kills Osman's dog, prompting the brothers to keep watch at night to prevent further violence. That night, two farmers blow up the dam. Osman and Hasan chase the saboteurs. Osman fires several shots into the darkness, killing one of the farmers. He convinces Hasan to take the blame for the killing by arguing that Hasan is much younger and will get a lighter sentence.

Hasan is sentenced to 24 years, which is reduced to 8 because he was provoked. Osman uses his absence to advance on Bahar. He destroys Hasan's letters to make it appear as if he has forgotten Bahar. When a prisoner named Hasan is killed in the same prison as her husband, Bahar is distraught. She flees the farm and returns to her mother. Osman convinces her to return by explaining that, as Hasan's widow, she owns half of everything.

Hasan is not dead, and he is eventually pardoned. On his way home from prison, he learns how Osman has tricked Bahar. He goes straight to confront his brother. Osman shoots first at Bahar who runs at him with an axe. He shoots repeatedly at Hasan, but Hasan manages to topple his brother into the spring and drown him. Osman's body washes down the sluice towards the farms he had deprived of water.



Dry Summer helped introduce Turkish cinema to a global audience. It continues a theme of possessiveness that Eksan had previously explored in Revenge of the Snakes.[1]

The film was censured by the Ministry of Interior's film censorship board which objected to Bahar's implied union with her dead husband's brother. The film was banned for fear of broadcasting negative images of Turkish society.[2]

There are two instances of animal cruelty in the film, when Osman slaughters a chicken and when one of the villagers kills Osman's dog. Like similar depictions in Nanook of the North, the distastefulness of these moments is outweighed by their verity.[3]


The film won the Golden Bear at the 14th Berlin International Film Festival[4] and the Biennale Award at the 29th Venice Film Festival. The film was also selected as the Turkish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 37th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dönmez-Colin, Gönül. The Routledge Dictionary of Turkish Cinema. Routledge, 2013. 290.
  2. ^ Dönmez-Colin, Gönül. Turkish Cinema: Identity, Distance and Belonging. Reaktion Books, 2008. 49.
  3. ^ Nye, Scott. "ON THE HULU CHANNEL: METIN ERKSAN’S DRY SUMMER", Criterion Cast. September 1, 2013.
  4. ^ "Berlinale 1964: Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2010-02-20.
  5. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

External links[edit]