Friday, May 06, 2005
Ten Best Turkish Film | Distant/Uzak by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Directed and written by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Cast: Muzaffer Özdemir, Mehmet Emin Toprak, Zuhal Gencer, Nazan Kirilmis, Feridun Koc, Fatma Ceylan, Ebru Ceylan
2003, 110 minutes
Festivals and Awards: Grand Jury Prize, and Best Actor Award, Cannes Film Festival; Best Film of the Year, FIPRESCI Grand Prix, International Federation of Film Critics; Premio Trieste 2004 for the best film, Trieste Film Festival, Italy; Estonian Critics' Prize, Black Nights Film Festival; Golden Antigone prize and the Critics' Award in the Mediterranean Film Festival, Montpellier; Best Film, Cinemataya Film Festival, India; Best Film, Cinemanila Film Festival, Philippines; Best Director and Best Cinematography, Film Festival of Mexico City; Silver Hugo prize, the 39th Chicago International Film Festival; Best film and Best Director, the 22nd Istanbul Film Festival; Best Film and Best Actor, the 39th Golden Orange Film Festival, Antalya, Turkey;
Also screened and scheduled to be screened in many international film festivals.
It was opened in various cinemas in France in February 2004, and in New York on March 12, 2004.
Screened at the 3rd Boston Turkish Film Festival in 2004.
Synopsis: With a high profile after its selection in competition at Cannes later this month, Nuri Bilge Ceylan's new film promises to become a surefire hit on the festival circuit...
A maverick auteur, who photographs and edits his own features as well as write and produce them, Ceylan's distinct, sober, personal style, has already been heralded by his two earlier, award-winning efforts, Kasaba and Clouds of May. His latest offering, a piece of infinite sadness and loneliness, marks his gradual transition from the countryside to the big city.
Yusuf leaves his small town and comes to Istanbul, looking for eventual work on one of the harbour boats. Forced out of home by the economic crisis that left him jobless, he moves in with an older, distant relative, Mahmut who has made a career as a photographer in the big city. The encounter between the taciturn, passive young man, who roams aimlessly about the wintry city and the obsessive bachelor, clinging to the routines of his solitary life, are fleshed out by a myriad of details. Not much is said between the two men, nor does much happen either; this is essentially a series of insignificant events that accumulate into a desolate portrait of alienation amid normal circumstances...
Despite the urban shift, Ceylan's visual language remains the same: sparse dialogue, stunning camerawork, very long shots and longer silences. He takes the viewpoint of an observer, loathe to infringe on his characters' privacy, choosing instead to let the audience use its imagination rather than forcefeed it information squeezed from loquacious soliloquies and extreme close-ups.
Working along similar lines, and at a similar pace, to film-makers such as Tarkovsky (mentioned in the film) and Antonioni, Ceylan displays a keen visual flair, both in his chiaroscuro compositions and use of depth of field, which allows him to make the most of every setting. The bleak, cold, wet winter landscape almost penetrates the pores of the film to impart a similar feeling to the audience.
The actors show remarkable restraint, employing a minimalist approach that hints at, rather than displays, their emotions.
Dan Fainaru, Screen International
May 15, 2003