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…
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…
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…
It was bound to happen sooner or later and today was the day: I doze off whilst watching a movie and by that I do not mean to say that my eyes closed for a few seconds, but that I went to dreamland for about forty minutes. The sad thing? I hadn’t missed a thing when I woke up again. I fully appreciated the first hour in which we see the beautiful Anatolian landscape and a bunch om men undertaking an investigation whilst actually doing not much more than wandering around and talk or drive towards their next location and talk. It felt very natural and the conversation were casual, but interesting. After a while though, it became clear that…
the best god damn road movie ever made
I don't think I understand Turkish films. It was long, trodding, and nothing really happened?
[...] Man nehme eine handvoll Menschen, werfe sie in eine ungewöhnliche Situation, doch betrachte eben nicht primär diese Situation, sondern warte darauf, was sie von sich preisgeben. Was aus ihrem Innersten an die Oberfläche schwappt. In diesem Aspekt, wie auch seiner wortlosen Langsamkeit, ähnelt Nuri Bilge Ceylans Film stark den Klassikern von Andrei Tarkovski. Sowohl formell, als auch von der emotionalen Antwort im Zuschauer. O.U.A.T.I.A. fühlt sich wie ein Traum an, leicht fiebrig aber doch angenehm und überraschend echt, weil man am Schluss sicher ist, hier echte Menschen gesehen zu haben. [...]
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In Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, a crime procedural with the visual scope of Lawrence of Arabia, a police unit, a prosecutor, a doctor and gravediggers search for a man's body with the scattershot guidance of his killers. If that sounds like the set-up to a joke, well, such is Once Upon a Time. The film strolls along at a slow pace, mining its absurd set-up for comedy whenever possible. The prosecutor's fastidiousness is often mocked, as is one member's unfailing knowledge of the group's geographic surroundings. These moments of dry humor, occasionally punctuated by philosophical musings on reaping what you sow, guide the film through its first half as the group, through many a misadventure and bout of…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
To say that Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is a long movie is an understatement. It is arduous, subtle and slow, and it's a work that doesn't stop after the credits roll. The characters are the central pieces of this motion picture albeit not being given any light on their personal background.
The story's focus begins with Naci, followed by Arap, it shifts to the prosecutor then to the doctor. But everything is in it's right place. Characters do more than talking, they converse, they discuss about their life, the everyday and the mundane, getting into humor, sharing a biscuit or a meal. It also has its moments of solemnity, characters staring at the window or to a picture,…
This movie gave me Nuri Bilge Ceylan. I was ignorant of his work until this. Since then, I haven’t been very fortunate to find his other work, other than Winter Sleep (2014)… but still, He is on my ‘directors to watch’ list. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is that important. So beautiful. So gorgeous. Quietly powerful.
Blew me away. Hopefully I'll set some time aside in the near future to write down my thoughts. Highly recommended.
“Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” is a fascinating look at masculinity, yet also tells a compelling police procedural. All of this done with the help of some of the finest visuals I have seen in some time.
For almost the entire first two hours we watch as this group of men drive through the Turkish countryside and try to find the body of someone who has been murdered. On the most basic level this can be enjoyed as simply a real and gritty police procedural. Its slow methodic nature gives it a very realistic feel and makes it seem like we are watching a genuine venture into the world of police work. Also Ceylan does a fascinating job at…
The general color and scenery of this film remind me of "La Isla Minima," just without the frantic energy. This film is slow and mundane, but I suppose that's what the purpose was; that there is always the normalcy that we return to, regardless of the ups and downs of life we encounter.
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…