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 »
In the rural area around the Anatolian town of Keskin, the local prosecutor, police commissar, and doctor lead a search for a victim of a murder to whom a suspect named Kenan and his mentally challenged brother confessed. However, the search is proving more difficult than expected as Kenan is fuzzy as to the body's exact location. As the group continues looking, its members can't help but chat among themselves about both trivia and their deepest concerns in an investigation that is proving more trying than any of them expected. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
The word Anatolia means East, originally referring to the Ionian colonies on the west coast of Asia Minor See more »
While Arab and the doctor chat during the investigation, doctor sits in the front seat of the car (with the car door open, facing the field). The next scene, we see the doctor from the back, facing the field while standing. After that, while Arab is eating apple, we see doctor sitting in the front seat again. As they keep talking, it cuts to wide angle shot where we see the doctor standing again. See more »
Ceylan's films always get criticized for being too slow, and yes, they are slower, sometimes much slower, than what the flickering-advertisement generation is used to today. In Turkey, he is heavily criticized for being "too artsy," inaccessible, and boring. I, on the other hand, marvel at how non-Turkish audiences can actually watch and like his films; it speaks volumes for his brilliant talent in making something so foreign and different a universal piece for everyone to appreciate. The untranslatable colloquial language, the lives of people in remote parts of Turkey with petty worries, a murder investigation that happen in snail pace, the local politics of small, mud-brick villages all become accessible. Combined with his impeccable sense of cinematography and some stellar performances, especially from Yilmaz Erdogan, whom we are more used to seeing in comedic roles, the film shines.
Why a 7/10, then? Well, I have seen all of Ceylan's films. They all execute the story arc well. They do not have Hollywood endings where everything is neatly resolved, of course, but they usually have some progress and movement through the arc. Somehow, this film lacked that. I felt like the main story arc was not fulfilled. I cannot really explain it; perhaps it was that too many things were left untold, or some "hints" were too vague and just when you thought they will lead somewhere, they didn't? Nevertheless, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is another cinematic gem from the Turkish master. Highly recommended for those who do not have to have action packed scenes and formula-bound stories to enjoy a film.
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