Phases of Matter is set in Istanbul’s venerable Cerrahpasa Hospital, a unique, state-run teaching hospital in Turkey, where the filmmaker himself was born and where his father has long worked as a doctor. It is a human, curious look at a place where life and death, levity and severity, poetry and confrontation go side by side.

This immersive documentary passes through the hospital’s darkened corridors from the physical spaces of morgue, operating and observation rooms to the virtual spaces of vital-signs monitors and X-ray machines. With a formal sense of camera movement that simultaneously embraces the unplanned and unexpected, Tortum crafts a vision pitched between the eerily posthuman and the urgently humanist.

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