The basis for our way of life, our world we breathe in, move, other people’s ways, their worlds are fluid all the time. As a result of eternal change, ways that can never meet can be together, the wheels of time and place can take worlds to different waters. All of a sudden the blackest pains can meet the white of mirth, fresh light can fly away from our way and grey mist can cover our eyes. People move the wheels with their deeds most of the time, those who know their ways find their lights and they can be light as well. Working, for the beauty of our brothers, sisters and nature, for source of light, in everything we do, in every step we take.
“Between Two Dawns” is a film that makes us think of what people found their principles of way of life on, how much humanly is behaved at working, production through history of humanity, consistency between personal interests and life wheels. The film which was directed by Selman Nacar in 2021 is his first full-length film. It is the first film directed in Uşak. It was awarded Best Film at the Toronto Film Festival. It also received Dr. Avni Tolunay Jury Special Award and including Nezaket Erden’s award as Best Supporting Actress as Serpil, the film had four awards at Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival. The leading actor is Mücahit Koçak as Kadir and Burcu Gölgedar as Esma. The film takes us to a deep journey with its long scenes and leaves unforgettable marks with its unbelievable fluency and powerful performances of the actors and actresses.
The events from one dawn to the next are related in the film. A textile factory in Uşak. A family company, a father and his two sons. The day starts happily for Kadir, he is meeting with the family of the girl he loves in the evening. The factory, it is a wheel always spinning, the orders to be fulfilled, never-stopping noisy machines. It is at the centre of life, everything is for its continuation. The colour of the day changes when a worker has an accident. Kadir is given the duty to inform the worker’s family about the accident. The worker’s house or shanty is in a poor district. A young, worried wife. The hardships of their life is felt at home, the atmosphere of home, her standing. The hospital, the gathering of relatives, waiting worriedly. Kadir wants to help, but the spinning of the wheel is in an entirely different way.
Actually humanly struggles, infallible principles can make everyone cherish light, if the things we do make the wheels turn.
He meets the family of the girl he loves in the evening, yes, but this accident he cannot understand is on his mind all the time. This kind of meeting is not very proper traditionally, the father indicates this, but one should behave according to the modern ways as well. Young people have deformed the traditional ways secretly actually, but the appearance is fine and it is all that matters anyway. How far these appearances are appropriate to the principals are seen in Kadir’s family with the accident at the factory. Everything is a matter of “the clearness of one’s conscience”, if your conscience is clear, there can be no problem. We have the scene of a traditional family here. A family interested in their own business only, people devoted to the family and traditions. They have capital and they are endowed with eternal wisdom. All of a sudden, this wisdom wants to change Kadir’s path he has been following until that time. Being faithful, true to your word, not thinking that your benefit is more important than others’ benefit; these principles can be ignored for the good of the capital. The ultimate things are the machines, their working day and night. What can be the importance of a person compared to a machine? What you call a worker is a part that can be found very easily, renewed more easily than a part of a machine. A person in the wheels, a working force, a tiny little labour in the wheels working on and on automatically. All open doors are to be benefited from in the eternity of capital, the bright dreams of family members can be left to mist if needed, let alone a person who could be only a worker?
As we watch the film, we think of “Capital”, the conditions that made Marx write “The Communist Manifesto”. Marx was not from the working class, but he could not remain silent in the terrifying capitalist system. Gorki’s unforgettable novel “Mother” and most of his stories present terribly difficult working and living conditions of the majority who had to work at factories, different places in memorable pictures. That hard life far beyond the strength of a human being, earning nearly nothing, the worker Heinrich Böll mentioned in his essays, who could not even afford a drink with his bread and the unification of hopelessness and alcohol in this dark life, the everlasting cycle of poverty. Violence, ruthlessness and crime. Emile Zola’s wonderful book “Germinal” tells us the lives of mine workers, what can be called the most difficult labour of all, and the lives of their employers in full detail. The cinema adaptation of the book with the same name starring Gerard Depardieu affects us like a black nightmare. The mine workers go down early in the morning, their drinking of the heated water left from the food one day before for breakfast, their being having to live at sheds worse than barns, the grandfather with his black spit, horrible cough, as he worked in the mines from the time he could. The capitalist world of the nineteenth century. The owners of the capital talk about how they pay enough to the workers because they give them places to stay at on their tables adorned with valuable game animals, luxury is their right, of course, the capital is what makes a society keep up. In the film “The Young Karl Marx”, which mentions the writing process of “The Communist Manifesto”, the factory owner, relaxing at his club in the evening, says that he has to have children working at his factory to be able to compete at the market. And what working! We see the terrifying working ages, hours and salaries given in detailed tables with comparisons of different countries in “Capital”. As the important thing is the turning of the wheels, everything done for the sake of capital is allowable. Let us not forget, those capitalists were also conventional, representatives of security of the society, virtuous, good Christians.
Change? The bloody results of the desire, struggle for change thrill us in “Germinal”. Of course a lot of things have changed for workers, but as we see in “Between Two Dawns” as well, there are still problems. Actually humanly struggles, infallible principles can make everyone cherish light, if the things we do make the wheels turn. When Sevgi Soysal stayed at Adana, she wrote about this city and mentioned how easy it was to take the precautions to prevent the accidents, the disasters and how inappropriate it was only to pity the disasters that could be prevented:
“Pity does not change anything. And not changing something means not pitying.”
The dawn breaks so differently for Kadir. For the worker’s family as well. Are the things Kadir can do limited, is it possible to go on without changing the path at all? Pitying? Everything drowns in the eternal noise of the machines, those sounds are at a terrible, never-ending cycle, they take whatever there is to their ways in their wheels, emotions are not worth anything.