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,…
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…
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…
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 film really is something quite different. I wish I was more familiar with Ceylan's past work so I would have known what to really look for, but I'm also glad I started with this. While watching the film I was paying more attention to the plot points and less on the characters. Once I started seeing what Ceylan was doing with them I shifted my view, which made the film even better. This movie works on all levels.
I really love the use of close-ups, especially the one where we slowly approach Kenan in the backseat with all the cops gossiping and what have you, and as we get closer and closer Kenan begins to doze off. The close-ups…
Annoying, placid intellectual masturbation for those who won't find anything magical in the technical aspect of the film. The film is one of those 'where nothing happens but you can interpret any which way' films and I have stopped bothering about 1. what the apple shot meant 2. why did the victim wear no undies? 3. why the doctor didn't report the dirt etc. etc. These are questions we will never know the answers to and that's all there is to it. There aren't any great ideas being explored in the film ok? The only idea being explored is 'shit happens and life goes on and people do bad shit, deal with it'.
3.5 stars for the craft.
Sparse, empty dark and brooding, a crime film without the mechanics of the usual plot lines. Beautifully shot, nuanced and acute characterisations make for sublime viewing. Not a lot happens, yet it does in an unconventional manner. Draw your own conclusions, it will make you think!
This film is expertly made, but only about half its scenes feel necessary. Stretching close to 160 minutes, Anatolia is a long, bleak journey that in all honesty does not lead much of anywhere. A few of the characters, particularly a Prosecutor reminiscent of Clark Gable, are well-developed and keep us intrigued. On the other hand, much of the conversation feels mundane, topics ranging from yogurt to "how are the kids?" esque discussion. The cinematography is quite beautiful, and a few truly haunting and thought-provoking images linger after the credits roll. Perhaps not the masterpiece some make it out to be, but definitely worth a watch.
What a masterpiece.
One of my favorite films of all time.
I wanna talk more and more about it but I'm really speechless.
That took some work to get through. I was with the movie through the opening driving around and searching through the fields. BUt at about the point when they got to the small village, I started finding it a slog. There were definitely moments that paid off - the best example being the conversations between the district attorney and the doctor. But too much of it was difficult to work my way through. Yes bureaucracy and decent intentions can make things very difficult - got it.
To call this slow would be a serious understatement. I've watched paint dry quicker.
This film takes its time and it is all the better for it. It's refreshing to watch something which isn't constantly rushing to the next dramatic set piece.
While certainly not an easy watch, this is most definitely an enthralling one.
Si se habla de películas que resultan difíciles de ver, que nos dejan una mirada negativa y oscura de la vida, está es la ganadora y número uno.
Hay muchisimo para apreciar, y entiendo que el propósito de la misma película es agotar al espectador, pero, lamentablemente me pareció imposible disfrutarla.
Sin duda alguna lo más destacado es la atmósfera, nos vemos inmersos en este mundo oscuro, confuso y difícil de recorrer, como la vida misma.
La carencia de música aportó a este ambiente creado de forma maestra por Ceylan.
Finalmente, me gustaría destacar la excelente escena de la recolección de manzanas, básicamente resume no solo toda la película sino también la vida.
Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan this film stars Muhammet Uzuner, Yilmaz Erdogan, Taner Birsel and Ahmet Mumtaz Taylan. On a dark night in rural Turkey the police drive round the countryside with a murder suspect looking for a buried body.
This is a slow moving and moody film where both the story and direction keep the audience at arms length. As a viewer we may never really understand what happened in the events depicted but the film explores a number of interesting and relevant themes through the conversations of it's characters. I really liked the cinematography and there are some great shots of the Turkish countryside but the slow moving and ambiguous nature of this film may not be for everyone.
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