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.
A married couple are faced with a difficult decision - to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer's disease.
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
This is the true Turkish expeirence... in the universal sense
I am very thankful that the small college town of Abingdon, Va.- near Bristol, TN. and home of the famous Barter Theatre where Gregory Peck once acted- managed to get an art film festival togather and show this film there. Abingdon is two and a hour hours from where I live, but the trip was worth it in every sense of the word. UZAK/DISTANT is an amazing, brilliant, jarring, emotional, captivating film. As a Turkish-American, this film was not only a testimony as to what life in Turkey is like; but on a larger scale it tells the world of what it is like to be Turkish whether one lives in Istanbul, Berlin, Montreal, New York, or Omaha. It may be two hours in length as opposed to five minutes, but this is effectively our Bob Marley song. There are so many wonderful scenes in this film. It is very difficult to choose just a random few. But, for me, one telling scene takes place in a Beyoglu (downtown Istanbul) cinema. The title character, played by Mehmet Emin Toprak who sadly died in a car accident shortly after this film's completion, follows a very attractive young woman down a staircase to the cinema's main auditorium. She goes into see "Vanilla Sky." As the image of Tom Cruise is reflected from a glass, we sense that Turkish men are competing with Tom Cruise for their own women's affections even though Tom Cruise is nowhere to found in Beyoglu. The scenes shot across the Bosphorous shores are also quite revealing as they symbolize the beauty, yet desperate empty gulfs, which are a painful fact of life in Turkey. In this film, the gulf separates lovers and families. A simple, empty packet of Samsun (Turkish brand) cigarettes and a dying mouse jump off the screen the way seagulls did in the 1982 Serif Goren-Yilmaz Guney film "Yol." Many of Guney's films, including "Yol," "Suru- the Herd" (1978- completed by Zeki Okten) and "Baba-The Father" (1971) have been considered by many to be the best Turkish films ever made. Without Guney's sometimes overblown social-political anger (especially in his last film, the 1983 prison drama "Duvar-The Wall"), "Distance" captures the essence of Turkish life quite remarkably. This is a crowning achievement for a director who in my view can already be proclaimed as the Turkish equivalent to directors like Tarkovsky, Bresson, and Ozu. I can't wait to see his other films!
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