Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da (2011) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • 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.

  • A group of men set out in search of a dead body in the Anatolian steppes.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Through the night, three cars carry a small group of men  police officers, a doctor, a prosecutor, grave diggers, gendarmerie forces, and two brothers, homicide suspects  around in the rural surroundings of the Anatolian town Keskin, in search of a buried body. Kenan, one of the suspects, leads them from one water fountain to another; at the time of the crime he was intoxicated and he cannot recall where he and his mentally challenged brother buried the body. The darkness and visual indistinctness of the landscape do not help; each spot looks the same as the others.

    Meanwhile the men discuss a variety of topics, such as yoghurt, lamb chops, urination, family, spouses, ex-wives, death, suicide, hierarchy, bureaucracy, ethics, and their jobs.

    Before dawn the prosecutor gets hungry, and the group stops at a nearby village to eat. After the meal Kenan reveals what happened the night of the killing  while drunk he let slip the secret that the victim's son was actually his, and then things got ugly.

    Daylight breaks. The body is found and taken to the local hospital for autopsy. The mother and son (perhaps 12 years old) are waiting outside the hospital. The son throws a stone at Kenan hitting him between the eyes. Kenan cries.

    The prosecutor invites the victim's wife to identify the body in the hospital morgue, files the necessary paperwork, and departs, leaving the doctor to perform the autopsy. The autopsy reveals the presence of soil in the lungs, implying that the victim had been buried alive, but the doctor intentionally omits that from the report. This may allow the offenders to get away with lesser charges, but it will also spare the victim's wife and stepson from further grief.

    The movie ends with a shot from the doctor's perspective of the mother and son in the distance walking away with the husband's belongings. The son sees that a soccer ball has been accidentally kicked far from a schoolyard and he runs and retrieves it and kicks it back to the children in the yard. He then runs back to his mother.

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