Set in an isolated region in Northeast Turkey, Bal arrives at Yusuf's childhood when six year old Yusuf has just started primary school and is learning how to read and write. His father Yakup works as a honey-gatherer, a risky trade which involves climbing up ropes into the tops of trees where the hives are. To Yusuf, who accompanies his father to work, the forest becomes a place of mystery and adventure, and he watches his father in admiration as he works sometimes higher than the eye can see. Yusuf and his father have a very strong bond and although he is tongue-tied to the point of stuttering paralysis in social situations, he can read and speak quite clearly when he’s addressing his father.
Ridiculed by his classmates for his stammer, Yusuf’s anxieties escalate when his father must travel to a faraway forest to hang his hives in a treacherous mountainous area. Days pass and Yusuf and his mother become anxious when Yakup doesn’t return. Distraught, Yusuf slips into silence but finally summons all his courage and alone, runs deep into the forest to search for his father. A journey into the unknown.
Recent high school graduate Yusuf is uncertain about his future in the provincial countryside. Writing poetry is his greatest passion and some of his poems are starting to be published in obscure literary journals. But for the time being, he continues working in his single mother's village milk business, also with an uncertain future. Up until now, Yusuf's widowed mother Zehra has focused all her attention on her only child. Still a young and beautiful woman, Zehra is having a discreet relationship with the town station master. His mother's affair, and his being named unfit for military service due to a childhood illness, make Yusuf even more anxious about making the sudden jump toward manhood.
Poet Yusuf returns to his childhood hometown, which he hadn't visited for years, upon his mother's death. A young girl, Ayla awaits him in a crumbling house. Yusuf has been unaware of the existence of this distant relation who had been living with his mother for five years. Ayla has something to ask of Yusuf. Yusuf is obliged to perform the sacrifice his mother Zehra had been prevented by death from fulfilling.
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