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 all 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.
This is just my second foray into Turkish cinema and so far I've yet to be disappointed (the other was Metin Erksan's Susuz Yaz).
Nuri Bilge Ceylan finds a skillfully crafted, harmonious balance between dark police procedural and a philosophical dissection of morals, life, truth, death, infidelity, and influence. Ceylan eschews the use of a score here and it speaks volumes. The prescient and chaotic use of wind not only is used as an important theme throughout, but literally carries the characters' search for answers from scene to scene. The bleak cinematography of ostensibly identical Turkish fields and deserted terrain adds to the incongruity of the film.
Teetering on the border of masterpiece, I'm anxious and looking forward to exploring more of Ceylan's work.
I quickly lost interest in the plot and found it very slow and tedious.
There was a rumour, persistent and voiced with confidence that art house cinema was dead, or at the very least only kept alive by the artificial life support mechanism of the film festival. The co-incidence of Bergmann and Antonioni dying within days seemed to confirm everything: it was time for the obituaries.
But as Mark Twain might say reports of death are greatly exaggerated. We are in a golden age for film that is south consciously 'art' often emerging from that mysterious place called 'world' but drawing on the heavy cerebral end of western cinema. This film seems to draw on both Bergmann, shooting its main characters so that their bodies overlap, often sitting in cars (their bodies overlap because…
Νύχτα. Στα βάθη της Τουρκίας. Στα βάθη μιας χώρας που μετά την Άγκυρα επικρατεί το χάος και οι διαφορές στο βιοτικό επίπεδο είναι εξόφθαλμες. Γυμνή από μουσική και ευφυολογήματα, η ταινία βαδίζει αργά και καταφέρνει να μας υπνωτίσει με το άγριο και απέραντο τοπίο της Ανατολίας. Μέσα σ' αυτό ξεδιπλώνεται και ο κάθε χαρακτήρας, με βλέμματα, ποίηση, ερωτήματα και αντιδράσεις. Θα παρακαλούσα μονάχα για ένα πράγμα που με απέτρεψε από το να βάλω το τελευταίο αστέρι: να μην είχε ξημερώσει ποτέ.
This was a rare Filmspotting miss for me. It came so highly remake recommended from Adam and Michael Phillips that I was sure that I would love it. Too little plot for me. Too internal.
It’s rare to see a movie about a crime that isn’t at all concerned about who committed it.
It’s even rarer then when the movie doesn’t even concern itself too much with why it has been committed.
Some may argue why even watch such a movie, when it doesn’t seem to be that interested in the crime it’s portraying?
Well, the answer is simple. One should watch Once Upon a Time in Anatolia because it’s brilliant and lets you walk away immensely satisfied, even though (or because of) it circumvents most tropes associated with films about crime.
The film begins hauntingly beautiful. Like far-away fireflies we see three vehicles driving down…
Nuri Bilge Ceylan's allegorical quest to find a buried body is bleak, austere and slooow, but so fascinating and captivating it makes 150 minutes feel like 135. Or something like that.
The first half is almost kafkaesk in how roughly ten guys (cops, soliders, a doctor, the prosecutor, and the two confessed suspects) in three cars pave their way through long and windy roads of rural Anatolia to find a buried body. However, the central suspect can't - or doesn't want to - properly remember the place where they hid the body. Somewhere near a fountain and a "round" tree, he says. And so they find a well, walk around, look around, find nothing and drive off to the next…
I really wanted to like this film more than I did since it was touted so highly on Filmspotting so many times. And what's funny is, I can usually embrace the sort of neo-realism feel that's in this film. And I did enjoy the long takes and the slow pace within individual scenes, but I think it's the length of this one that made it much more trying than similar films that are short on plot and slow on pace.
This film has some moments of great beauty, and some interesting conversation. I think it was just a bit too unfocused to really work for me (and I say this realizing that the side conversations and extended moments helped to…
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