Monday, December 31, 2012

4. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan's , it is a thriller as challenging as Antonioni's Blow-Up. I have read about the film and I really wanted to see it. As soon as the film started I realized it was truly a magnificent work.
Turkish film-maker Nuri Bilge Ceylan initially trained as an electrical engineer and worked as a commercial photographer until becoming a full-time director. Most critics think he is one of the most significant moviemakers to have emerged this century, an original figure in his own right and a major force in reviving a belief in the kind of serious, ambitious, European art-house cinema that was taken to new heights by Bergman, Tarkovsky, and Antonioni in the 1960’s and 70’s.
Ceylan used pared-down narratives with long takes and sparse dialogue to explore the ethical dilemmas of middle-class Turks, including the social and geographical contexts of their personal lives and the larger world that is shaping them. There is always, however, a mystery about his characters. This derives in part because Ceylan refuses to provide intrusive exposition. More significantly, it arises from his generous invitation to audiences to make up their own minds about what they are seeing.
As the title suggests, it's a sort of fable with a very specific location of his native land. It's also an exercise in popular genre cinema, in this case the crime scene investigation picture. The themes are universal and it could be reworked without much difficulty anywhere where people get casually killed and other people come together to tidy up the mess.
His finest work to date, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is a carefully controlled masterpiece.

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