7.9/10
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Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011)

Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 23 September 2011 (Turkey)
Trailer
1:36 | Trailer
A group of men set out in search of a dead body in the Anatolian steppes.

Director:

Nuri Bilge Ceylan
21 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Muhammet Uzuner ... Doctor Cemal
Yilmaz Erdogan ... Commissar Naci
Taner Birsel Taner Birsel ... Prosecutor Nusret
Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan ... Driver Arab Ali
Firat Tanis ... Suspect Kenan
Ercan Kesal ... Mukhtar
Erol Erarslan Erol Erarslan ... Murder Victim Yasar
Ugur Aslanoglu Ugur Aslanoglu ... Courthouse Driver Tevfik
Murat Kiliç ... Police Officer Izzet
Safak Karali Safak Karali ... Courthouse Clerk Abidin
Emre Sen Emre Sen ... Sergeant Onder
Burhan Yildiz Burhan Yildiz ... Suspect Ramazan / Zanli Ramazan
Nihan Okutucu Nihan Okutucu ... Yasar's wife Gülnaz
Cansu Demirci Cansu Demirci ... Mukhtar's Daughter Cemile
Kubilay Tunçer Kubilay Tunçer ... Autopsy Technician Sakir
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Storyline

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 (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Language:

Turkish

Release Date:

23 September 2011 (Turkey) See more »

Also Known As:

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia See more »

Filming Locations:

Turkey See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,652, 8 January 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$138,730, 3 June 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The anecdote about the sudden death of a woman told by prosecutor Nusret and the doctor's deduction come from the short story The Examining Magistrate by Russian writer Anton Chekhov. See more »

Goofs

Once the deceased body is discovered you can see the "corpse's" thumb briefly twitch. See more »

Connections

References The Wind Will Carry Us (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Alli Turnam (Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da)
By Neset Ertas
See more »

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User Reviews

Good and slow, as expected from Ceylan
8 October 2011 | by cguldalSee all my reviews

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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