Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bir zamanlar Anadolu'da (Once Upon a Time In Anatolia)

I’m a true admirer of Nuri Bilge Ceylan outstanding films like Distant or Climates, even when I was not too pleased with Three Monkeys; but now I know he went back to what I can call his particular style that allow us to contemplate everything in the screen: the visuals, the dialogues, the situations, the slow pace, the awesome compositions, the use of light, the silences, the amazing long shots, and yes, the story that in this film is about men. Men stories all related to their own woman, but from the very manly restrained point of view. So I contemplated and had one of the best longest moments with great mouth dropping cinema.

For starters just after the opening credits there is a long, very long shot done with a still camera that didn’t move at all during what? Probably 10 to 15 minutes, if not more. Awesome. Story tells about a night where a group of men set out in search of a dead body in the Anatolian steppes, so it’s easy to imagine the absolutely beautiful takes of the steppes we will see but what it’s truly amazing is that we watch them while twilight becomes dusk and dusk becomes night. Just imagine the color palette, that somehow reminds me very much of the color palette used in Distant.

Story will grab your attention and tension will develop not from “fictional” situations but from what looks and feels like reality, very realistic performances that are enhanced with great actors close-ups to deadpan faces that suddenly look directly into the camera and a small expression appears. Fabulous.

As I already mentioned film tells men stories, the story of Doctor Cemal, Prosecutor Nusret, Commissar Naci, one killer and the dead man. Each has a woman behind their tale, except the last two that –according to me- have one and the same woman. Thus even if they are looking for a body, slowly you will start to learn each man story and the weaving of all stories happen so flawlessly that you hardly notice that 150 minutes have passed by as you will want more.

Co-winner of the Grand Prix at 2011 Cannes and winner of Achievement in Directing plus Achievement in Cinematography at 2011 Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Nuri Bilge Ceylan oeuvre highly deserves the honors and as we know is Turkey submission to Oscar, but I doubt that Academy members will appreciate this kind of true art in cinema. Sigh.

Have to admit that film is not for all audiences but since main story is very clear, a murder investigation, perhaps those who dare to watch it could enjoy the film as a very realistic recount of one night and one morning in the life of some men. Obviously I strongly recommend it to many that read this blog that I know will enjoy this very contemplative voyage into great cinema.


Watch trailer @MOC

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