By Nevin Ulusoy

Our home, our nest, our shelter. The place where we leave all dangers behind, take a deep breath when we close our door to the outer world and step in. In British playwright Harold Pinter’s play “Old Times” they keep on saying that they are safe in the room when they have locked the door and are inside. It is not clear what dangers there are outside or what they are protected from. But a room, home where nobody will disturb, an environment free from the people who we have to see even if we do not want to, alone with ourselves or people and creatures we want to be with, objects we have accepted in our lives, those we want to befriend in our journey of the world. A room, home where all the disturbing things, subconscious nightmares that hurt our feelings of safety are out of the door, our dream life breath. A feeling of warmth overflows from the word “home”, flowers with its warm breath in the hearts of most. As children like playing under the tables, our home is the place where we put life play on stage taking refuge in its embrace by retreating into ourselves. 

A room, home where all the disturbing things, subconscious nightmares that hurt our feelings of safety are out of the door, our dream life breath. A feeling of warmth overflows from the word “home”, flowers with its warm breath in the hearts of most. As children like playing under the tables, our home is the place where we put life play on stage taking refuge in its embrace by retreating into ourselves. 

What will we do if our walls, our castle that we have built safety on, is threatened in an absolutely unexpected way, when our heaven on earth turns into the hell we fear and escape, a never-ending nightmare because of things we cannot avoid? It is terrifying when our home located on a road that has not been used for years, our silent home maybe everybody dreams of turns into a mess of noise because the government suddenly decides to open the road. The film “Home” Ursula Meier directed just examines this. Famous French artist Isabelle Huppert and Olivier Gourmet act in the film. The film was made in 2008 and was the nominee of Switzerland for Oscar, but it could not take the award. It has awards from different festivals. The film reminds us how the outward threats can actually upset us, our understanding of home enormously, how our feeling of trust can be destroyed by the protective government very easily, that the ground of our castle is really slippery and it is not actually very easy to accept the change of our home, surroundings that can be called as habit.

Marthe, Michel and their three children. They have been living nearby a road that is not used in a way nobody disturbs, almost isolated for ten years. The road is the children’s playground, they have a pool there. Their oldest daughter lies in the garden, smokes, listens to music and sunbathes with her bikinis all day long. The house is like a castle on its own that protects the warm atmosphere of the family, dad coming from work everyday with a smile, the brother and sister going to school and coming back home on the isolated road cheerfully. Of course the pizza they order to celebrate school holiday will not arrive very easily, but who cares? Suddenly workers appear, they are there to build the road, a noisy, disturbing period of work, they close their road almost explaining nothing. Michel cannot cross the road after work, the oldest girl goes on sunbathing with her closed eyes. The road is opened and the nightmare. They try to go on their normal life, but that life is leaving them very quickly. The road gets more and more crowded as the days go by, the radio announces how many cars pass the road in a day cheerfully, the mark of never-fading smiles start to vanish. It is as if the cars pass through the house, even hanging the laundry is a torture, having supper, especially sleeping, oh, sleeping. Only the oldest girl goes on her life not  caring about anything, when there is a traffic jam even the gaze of the passersby cannot disturb her. They start to sleep in the quietest room altogether, the nightmare goes on at night as well. When the schools open, it is nearly impossible to cross the road, then come back home, they have to use a tunnel. Their psychology slowly breaks down, the younger sister tells her little brother again and again that their garden, home is full of poisonous gases, even a small pimple is a sign that they are dying. But the noise, the terrifying nightmare day and night, do they have to go? Actually yes, the conditions that make home are not there anymore and life means change in a way. Certainly nobody has the right to disturb their peace but what can be done? Is not the way of life full of changes we cannot help, conditions we cannot avoid? Martha says she cannot go to the city, she just cannot do it. Here all the things she has been through is left behind, a new home is impossible for her. By the way, the oldest daughter disappears one day, they do not know what to do, they are aware that the police cannot help them because she is an adult. So the only way to lessen the noise is to cover all the windows with bricks, a home made of walls only, completely closed to outside, absolutely introverted. The sound vanishes, but the windows that make the castle have a vital relation with the world, the only way of its breathing also vanish. Their daughter comes back with a man one day, but the house is an impenetrable fortress now, a dungeon that cannot be entered and gone out. People cannot live without breathing, the terrifying nightmare is completely black now. The inevitability of change is felt deeply, change, vital for life. Just like snakes that die when they cannot change their skin, when people are not shaped according to the new conditions the beauties that calm us vanish, do not come back again, it is existence that is essential. 

Our home is in ourselves, wherever we go.

As I am in the process of moving I have been thinking about this film a lot recently. I have different feelings about Martha who I criticized because she refused a new beginning, I have felt myself like her sometimes. Yes, a person can find herself/himself in unforeseen paranoia even if she/he moves to the city where she/he wants to live in a lot, she/he was born in, has spent an important part of her/his youth, dreams about and have been looking forward to meeting. It is really difficult to move to a new house, going away from a place that has been one’s home for years, although it is one’s principal not to be the slave of habits.It is quite hard to make this new place your home, the place where you have different kinds of fear, feel troubled without any reason when you get in and start to settle your furniture, belongings. The house that we are going to take shelter in may frighten us at the beginning without any reason, our subconscious refuses the change and shows its reaction by nightmares at night. Change is a fresh breath for us certainly as we surround ourselves with our beloved people, things, as we start to say “hello” to our books again on the armchair we sit , the cat rubs to us peacefully, the children settle in their new rooms and smile happily.

One cannot help thinking of “3-Iron”, Korean director Kim Ki-duk’s film of 2004, that unforgettable, multi layered film. The director won the best director award in Venice Film Festival with this film. The young man in the film who gets in and stays one night at houses whose owners are on holiday or on a trip, settles in those houses as if they belong to him, wears the clothes of the people who live there and stays there peacefully, cooks and has supper with the food in the refrigerators happily. The man who mends simple things in houses, listens to music, that peaceful man. The music is always “Gafsa” by Natacha Atlas, the fascinating song that keeps on spinning in your mind. He never finds the houses odd, neither the woman who he has fallen in love with and follows her. How much do the things we claim to be ours belong to us actually? Probably we should accept all the surroundings, people that give us the feeling of peace as long as they exist, feel the beauties we experience deeply, without worrying about tomorrow and know that safety is a feeling of us, a feeling about us, live that way. Our home is in ourselves, wherever we go. Because “Water never stops”, as in Bülent Ortaçgil’s song.          

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