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.
I love the long takes and face shots. I love the interaction and the conversation of the different professional to solve the case. I love the flow of the story. I love the story. I just love this film.
05:00pm, Nov. 15, 2014
How incredibly refreshing! A police "investigation-mystery" film that is actually about the people within the investigation, and not about the investigation itself. While a more 'Hollywood' driven film of this sort would glaze over any tiny details in favour of moments that simply advance the story forward (which is definitely not a bad thing when done correctly, should I take a moment to temporarily jump off the Hollywood hate train), Once Upon a Time in Anatolia has the courage to show us the intricate little details that ultimately end up constructing the whole of the situation, specifically all the complexities that exist in every line of conversation and every little body gesture or movement. And the best part of it…
Slow moving but hypnotic, this is probably the longest film (2 hours and 37 minutes) that's ever dealt with what is 30 second fodder in most other 'crime' movies. A group of policeman and a doctor scour the countryside in search of a body when the killer can't exactly remember where he buried it. Nuri Bilge Ceylan is a master of composition and lighting here, none more so stunning than one sequence drained in candlelight and each man noticing the beautiful young girl's face behind it. Pure magic. The film's themes about masculinity and past sorrow are also resounding.
as written on www.itsamadmadblog2.blogspot.com
A special kind of film, which truly shines when the characters muse about life.
A long night's journey into day:
The rewards may be insufficient for some, but I found this homicide investigation both fascinating and beautiful. Long takes, beginning with distant shots of automobiles driving through the Turkish countryside at night, combine with meandering conversations through which stories come leaking out. Not everything is resolved. Not all the questions are answered. But, as the cliche would have it, it's the journey that's important.
the set up is great but the movie did not know when to stop and wanders for one more hour, it is a memorable picture with a series of iconic images that will stick with you for a while.
"Once upon a time in Anatolia, when I was working out in the sticks, I remember this one night which began like this..."
I'm struggling to see how people found profound meaning in this, but I can say that this is a pretty solid movie. I feel like I've gotten used to Ceylan's style to the point where I won't let things like pacing and lack of an event filled plot bother me. Ceylan is quite the master of making interactions between his characters look very natural. Furthermore, the surrounding environment looks all the more beautiful than ever before. He also doesn't just bring out the main issue of the movie on a platter, we get gradual insight through their…
Mesmerizing film where the landscapes and night scenes in the first three quarters pull you into a new world. The scenes with the doctor and the prosecutor are mysterious yet unusually intense.
- Only God Forgives
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
- Spring Breakers
- A Field in England
- The Captive
- Clouds of Sils Maria
- Goodbye to Language
- The Homesman
Originally a list made prior to Cannes 2014.
This is every Palme d'Or nominee since the festival began in 1946.…
- Leon: The Professional
- Freeway II: Confessions of a Trickbaby
- Grave of the Fireflies
- Whisper of the Heart
With so many reviews on the site now it is easy to miss the good ones so I thought a…