Letters from a Window
Letters from a Window is clearly structured. On the visual level it consists solely of paused film frames, hard cuts of different lengths. The stunning, rapidly changing images appear like brief impressions of a world that has been brought to its knees by a faceless power. The views of people, places, and objects constantly change. On the sound level, in counterpoint to the staccato of the dystopian flood of images, we hear a warm, calm woman’s voice, lovingly and wistfully addressing one “N.”, who might be a man or a woman, in a continuous flow of words. She refers directly to the images, as if she could see them at the cinematic window as she speaks.
One wonders in what time period this film, a collaboration between Nigel Gavus and İlkin Beste Çırak, takes place, because it is obviously much more than an artistic commentary on the pandemic crisis of 2020/21, and therefore not a “topical film”. The woman looks back from a (hopefully) not too distant future. In the “back then” to which she refers, the world was at the mercy of an invisible power’s totalitarian surveillance. The social fabric had broken down, and along with it, solidarity, closeness, and support. Every man and woman suffered, totally isolated, reflected back against only themselves.
But then the letter writer herself suddenly appears in the photos, which up to that point had been documentary. Fiction and reality overlap. She is the only person without a face mask, extremely vulnerable, as a witness to the time, without reference to the other people. Her first sentence (translated from her Turkish) is: “How did it all start?” But later in the present tense: “I close my eyes.” Then comes a brief blackout sequence. We don’t see anything either. We are in her head, in her fictional present. A short, long film about time. (Birgit Flos)
Translation: John Wojtowicz