Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
A group of men set out in search of a dead body in the Anatolian steppes.
There is a scene in this film, a background scene, that completely encapsulated the film for me.
It is a scene of two shopkeepers judiciously sweeping the bits of sidewalk and road immediately in front of their place of business. In between the two sweepers lies a huge mound of sand.
No matter how many times they sweep, within minutes any trace of their work will have disappeared.
It will have made no difference.
They keep sweeping.
Nuri Bilge Ceylan takes a microscopic look at the mundane in the form of a crime. A murder has been committed. A man is dead. All those involved in the business of crime, from the criminal to the prosecutor to the police to…
This movie is slow. It's dark. It's foreign. And it's 157 minutes long. But don't run away just yet. Because there's a lot to appreciate here. Starting of course with its deliberate and contemplative slow pacing that fits like a glove for the type of film this is and the type of mood it tries to convey. The film takes place during a night and day and it follows a group of men in search of a recently buried corpse. The group consists of police officers, gendarmerie forces, the two prime suspects, a doctor and a prosecutor. During this search we come to know these people and get a glimpse inside their lives, what are they like, what interests them,…
This is my first meeting with a Nuri Bilge Ceylan film, and I was not disappointed. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is a long, tiresome and difficult watch, and perhaps not for the restless, but it is a masterpiece, and the best of it's kind.
Through the night, three cars carry a small group of men around in the rural surroundings of the Anatolian town Keskin, in search of a buried body. The group involves police officers, a doctor, a prosecutor, two grave diggers, army forces, and two brothers, both homicide suspects. The darkness and the seemingly visual indistinctness of the barren landscape do not help, each spot looks the same.
It's an uncompromising film, seemingly possessed by some…
There is a magical sequence in Once Upon A Time In Anatolia that has a dream like quality and works like some fresh air in a movie filled with linguistic violence, skepticism, despair and hopelessness: in the middle of a dark night a young girl enters the room with a lamp and serves the guests with glasses of tea. The girl’s beauty, innocence and honest look is the only source of hope and faith in this movie, it is the sequence that I will never forget.
This is not an easy movie to watch, it is 150 minutes long and it has a quite slow pace, but the main thing that makes…
Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 19:14
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9
These two Bible quotations, in my humble opinion, encapsulate the entire statement of Ceylan's new thought-provoking and mysterious crime story, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. Leaving the crime plot elements aside, which are just the engine of the story, the answers are left intentionally unclear, but the messages are not.
First, appearances are deceiving, and the heart is an intrinsically evil mystery, even to ourselves. Our scope of things is incredibly limited, and in our attempts to rationalize events around us, past…
Not a traditional crime story by any stretch, but this kind of slow-art-film-meets-procedural has its own set of traditions (just one other example in this subgenre would be Police, Adjective). This is a beautifully shot and composed film, though, and it does manage to throw in more than its share of real surprises. There's a sequence involving the elusive corpse that drives the plot that slowly evolves into particularly black comedy, and an autopsy-room-climax that comes as close as you can to Grand Guignol with sound effects and a couple drops of blood.
I'm making this sound like a much simpler movie than it actually is, though - I almost want to watch it again as soon as possible just to untangle all of its mysteries. It's a real masterpiece, definitely one of my favorites of the year so far.
A perfect film, perfectly acted, perfectly shot, perfectly paced. Just amazing.
There's a lot to like in Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. Namely, the path of an apple as it falls from a tree, a story about a woman's mysterious death, the curious circumstances of a man's murder. There's enough interest here that this film really should be a success, especially when combined with good performances and excellent cinematography. Why then? Why shouldn't such praise be reflected in my rating?
It's glacial as fuck.
this isn’t like any other film about a murder investigation. there is little (but some) doubt as to who did it, and nothing but questions as to why and how. but that isn’t even the point.
the focus of the film is on the police and medical staff appointed to the case, to find the body of the victim with the help of the murderer. through their exchanges, often confrontational or impatient, and sometimes reflective, the film touches on themes of justice, social class, the passing of generations, empathy, and personal as well as professional responsibility.
the story is oddly structured - which is to say that there is no conventional structure; the events play out with a natural and…
“Los niños pagan los pecados de los adultos”
Nuri Bilge Ceylan se ha convertido en uno de mis directores favoritos. Sus películas retratan de manera descomunal las penumbras de la vida. Las escenas largas, acompañadas de un ambiente sombrío hacen que el espectador sufra lo que el personaje siente. El silencio, los sonidos ambientales y un movimiento de cámara lenta, forjan un estallido en todos mis sentidos.
A turkish masterpiece!
This might be NBCs best movie. I am not exaggerating when I say that NBC is the turkish Tarkovsky. The plot of the movie is relatively simple, but you don't watch this movie because of the plot, you watch for its content. Their discussion are fantastic and the mood in the film is awesome. Such as Tarkovsky films, there is little dialogue here, but when there is dialogue, it feels extremely well planned. Things that are not being said is perhaps even more interesting, the faces of the character and the surroundings, everything makes for an interesting portrayal of Turkish life.
The film's pace is calm, so this may not suit everyone, but for all others who…
This film is seriously one of the most beautiful looking films I've ever seen. I'm not even sure how to articulate how Nuri Bilge Ceylan creates the images he does, but it's an incredible work of art. Every landscape shot could be mounted on my wall. And despite how great it looks, it also has this sense of grit to it as well, which plays well into the films main themes for me too.
The first 45 minutes or so, nothing happens, yet I was captivated the entire time. It's, of course, beautifully shot but it also has some intriguing conversation that felt real and was even funny at times. We could've just stayed there the entire movie and I…
Most criticism, both pro and con, of Ceylan’s sixth feature will likely focus on the movie’s first half–a formally sustained 80 minutes that ranks among the more ambitious filmmaking of recent years. This section depicts the long night and weary morning spent looking for a corpse in the countryside of western Turkey, the sort of routine police business that most other movies would acknowledge in a few shots. Ceylan and his writers turn the investigation team’s banter into miniature dramas, drawing out the subtle differences between characters for humor and pathos. (One low-ranking officer–an oafish, walrus-looking type addressed mainly as “The Arab”–emerges as the blank page on which others must articulate their views.) And Ceylan’s camera meditates on the extraordinary…
Opening shot of the film reveals just how much can be done with a camera. Through an apparently opaque window, we see a meeting and conversation whose words we cannot understand, a group to which we do not belong. The camera moves closer to the window, as though walking towards it, and within inches of the glass, a shift in focus reveals that it was never the window that was opaque, but the camera's literal (and the audience's metaphorical) point of view made it seem so. Suddenly, the translations become clear to us, and a member of the group is drawn to the window where 'we' stand. We back away. A conversation later between the Prosecutor and the man at…
Originally a list made prior to Cannes 2014, now updated every mid-April.
This is every Palme d'Or nominee since the…
After looking through my Recommendations For A Novice Film Viewer list, I have thought for some time to make a…