Aydin, a former actor, runs a small hotel in central Anatolia with his young wife Nihal with whom he has a stormy relationship and his sister Necla who is suffering from her recent divorce.... See full summary »
A dowdy university instructor Isa is an inattentive husband to his younger, TV-business wife Bahar. Self-absorbed and selfish, Isa only communicates in the most rudimentary way, while she, similarly, detaches into crying jags and juvenile behavior.
Musa, who works as a bookkeeper in the customs office, believes in the emptiness and absurdity of life. He doesn't struggle to change his life; he lets himself flow along with events ... See full summary »
This is a movie within movie, which is almost recursive, i.e., the movie inside looks like director Ceylan's previous movie, Kasaba. It is about the movie director, Muzaffer, going back to ... See full summary »
Mahmut, a 40 year old independent photographer, is a "village boy made good" at least professionally in the big city - Istanbul in this case. After his wife leaves him, he falls into an existential crisis. Then comes his cousin Yusuf, who left his native village after a local factory closed down, effectively unemploying over half the local men. He looks to Istanbul for salvation: a job on board a ship sailing abroad, at once exciting and crucial to supporting his family in the desperately poor village. The distance between the two men is apparent at once, and becomes increasingly pronounced. Whereas Mahmut is adusted to big city life and suffers from many of its neuroses, Yusuf is a lonely, excentric country worker with annoying nervous and hygienic habits, and a sick mother back home he must somehow support. This intimate drama was filmed in the director's apartment in Istanbul, using all his furniture, appliances, rooms, car and so on as the film's props. The actor playing Yusuf is ... Written by
At the Cannes Film Festival 2003, the best actor award was given to both of the leading actors in the film, 'Mehmet Emin Toprak' (Yusuf) and 'Muzaffer Ozdemir' (Mahmut). Toprak was unable to receive his award because he had died in a car accident not long after he learned that he was nominated. See more »
Reading some of the other reviews of this film, i was reminded of both good and not so good aspects of it. But overall, i have to say it is one of the better films i have seen from any number of genres or countries recently. More than anything else, it avoided many of the typical traps of more recent international cinema, like taking nice pictures of landscapes or being 'hip', 'fun' or imitating American films like pulp fiction. The film is unique in many ways. For one thing, it is a film about relationships in which sex plays no role (unusual, especially for foreign films). It is also a film about two men's relationship to each other (also unusual - not a 'buddy film', no homosexual tension, no ego/phallic competition). It uses little dialogue, but communicates a tremendous amount. It is a simple story, yet full of complex details which are easily understood by any human being and universal in their relevance. I did not find the film dark or depressing (everything would seem this way if you watch Hollywood happy ending films all the time), but rather a true reflection of human emotions. For instance, in the scene where Mahmut realizes his cousin is gone is you see both his feeling of relief, that the cousin is gone and yet regret, that he pushed him away. Who has not felt such ambivalence - when losing a friend or lover, or in some other situation? It's rare to get these kinds of real human emotions displayed on film in a non-cliché way. As far as culture is concerned, or this being a Turkish film, i feel it strikes the very difficult balance between being a 'Turkish' film - about realities which more apply to that place (the greater struggle to make it in a Turkish city versus a European one; the greater contrast between country and city), and a universal, human story which didn't necessarily have to be set in Turkey. In this day and age where people around the world are consuming culture and fetishizing it, this film does not try to entice us as 'Turkish', nor does it try to communicate it as a 'harsh reality', or 'that's how Turkey/Istanbul IS'. And yet the cultural elements are there. I think the comparison to 'lost in translation' that somebody made is quite good. Everyone, at least in the US, was raving about that film. I personally thought it was mediocre at best. It was well put by someone as a vague story which supposedly was supposed to deal with 'disorientation' that happens to people living or traveling overseas. Even if the film was supposed to be humorous, the characters and their motivations or crises were never clear (even for a 'lighter' film or comedy, this is necessary). And i found myself being treated to a typically 'orientalist' story of the alienated Amerian overseas. Going back to 'Distant', as for the idea that this is bad acting, or too slow, or has no plot, I'm sorry but people who say this know nothing about film making and maybe nothing about being human, no offense. You do not have to be a film aficionado or cultural connoisseur to appreciate this film. This film will be two hours of your time well spent!
28 of 32 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?