Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

2011

Crime / Drama

20
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 92%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 74%
IMDb Rating 7.8 10 31342

Synopsis


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Cast

720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.32 GB
1280*544
English
NR
23.976 fps
2hr 37 min
P/S 37 / 83
2.53 GB
1920*816
English
NR
23.976 fps
2hr 37 min
P/S 20 / 81

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by sarajevo-2 10 / 10

A long night in the Turkish countryside

This film won the Grand Prix in Cannes, and it was deserved. A team goes into the countryside to find the body of a murder victim. The team includes the two men accused of the murder,one of whom has confessed and says he wills show them where they buried the body, the police chief, prosecutor, doctor, diggers, and guards. As the night drags on into the next day and the body is not found, the men grow more and more tired. Much of the film is beautifully shot in the dark or semi-dark, lit only by the headlights of the cars or a lamp in the village where they stop to rest. The filming is slow, showing the beautiful countryside and vignettes that wonderfully shed light on the different characters. What seems to be a simple task grows more and more complex; everything in the movie turns out to be more complicated than it first seems. Everyone seems to be guilty of something, so the film becomes a question not only of will the body be found, but who is guilty of what?

One could say that the film is too slow, but just as the team grows more and more tired, so arewe as the viewers, participating in the fatigue of the team, drawn into the feelings of the characters. Women and children are present only as lovely cameos in the film, but are behind almost everything. The actors are all superb, and it was amazing to me that Ceylan could show such depth and breadth of character and emotion and drama with only a few lines of dialog and amazing closeups of the faces.

Reviewed by Maggie 9 / 10

A mandala in disguise of a murder

Just as I expected, seeing this film is an engrossing experience!Every quiet moment has a lot to offer.

I feel like being the autopsy doctor in the story, but instead of examining a corpse, the audience examines the character's minds. Delving into the doctor's mind turns out to be incredibly intriguing for me! It is very interesting to see the person who is supposed to be the most observant turns out to be the most oblivious, and the person who is supposed to be the most cool-headed turns out to be the most empathetic.

The film is abundant with complicated interactions among the conscious, the unmindful, and the subconscious minds. In one of the excellent scenes, all the main characters are sitting in a room which is poorly lit with a flickering gasoline lamp. The angelic face of the mayor's daughter serves like a psychological blank screen, revealing the demons of each of the main characters without they themselves noticing it. (As audience, we only more surely, but not definitely, understand what the demons are when the film comes to the end. ) While the characters project their feelings to the innocent figure, the camera pans to the distorted shadow on the wall of the mayor's daughter against the lamp light, hinting at the Allegory of the Cave. The analogy is indeed masterfully posited here foreshadowing the paradox in truth-finding, the theme of the story. The other must-mention scene is,of course, the ending, which is symbolized by the blood stain on the doctor's face. The stain is no different from a scornful spit from the deceased victim, and the justice system. It is also, however, an ethical choice, a moral decision that he deliberately made to spare the pain of the victim's family.

Truth can be accessed by only few people, and exclusively by those who consciously stay mindful. For the rest of the people, they may not even know whether they can handle the truth.

Reviewed by Raj Doctor 8 / 10

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

I had not followed the schedule of film festival, but when mention of screening of Turkish movie came in newspaper, I got interested. After knowing that it is directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Three Monkeys fame) I surely got excited and checked whether it was to be re-screened? It was. Thus I went to see it.

The Director Ceylan had impressed me thoroughly with his earlier movie Three Monkeys, by its unique narrative structure, still camera, minimal dialogues and picture perfect images. I was not able to sit through his earlier film Climates (but I wish to see it again now!).

The film is about a team of 10 state officials - mainly Doctor Cemal (Muhammet Uzuner), Commissioner Naci (Yilmaz Erdogan), Prosecutor Nusret (Taner Birsel) and their entourage of driver, police, lieutenant, diggers plus 2 criminals suspects (Firat Tanis and other) – who set out in the evening to search of a burial place of dead body of a person killed by the suspects, in rural landscape of Anatolia. The team travel unsuccessfully from one location to another, taking rest in the night at a remote village – where they are served dinner by the Mukhtar (village head). Morning they re-start their search and finally find the dead body, and take it to the town – where a post-mortem of the dead body is done.

There are a few sub-plots that unfold in layers – of Prosecutor's story about (probably) his wife's suicide; Commissioner's story about his sick son & his experience about crime where he says – In 20 years invariably he has come across a woman's role as a root cause in all crimes he has investigated (anti-feminist!?; the suspect story about his son; the Doctor's story about his divorce; Mukhtar's story about his village problems and about his daughter (Cansu Demirci); the dead person's wife's and son story.

The movie was mentioned many times over that it is tediously (painfully) slow – which I did not find because the movie allows audience to get involved with the characters. The narrative is not straight. It requires audience's attention and involvement.

A few things about the movie – it is a murder mystery, where the hint of mystery is unfolded in the last 5 minutes. I would not reveal it, but as a hint - from the beginning closely watch the Doctor's character who unravels the mystery during post-mortem. Brilliant! A few scenes that require mention – car headlights in long shot beaming amongst the Anatolia hillock, the journey of a freshly fallen apple (from the tree) down the hills to the stream, the magical scene of Mukhtar's daughter serving tea, (WOW!) and the last post-mortem scene. There are also various streams of dialogues that are very intriguing to render the characters.

Ceylan has come to age with this cinema. He has his own style of cinematic narrative, that many on commercial diet may not digest; but he has this thorough knowledge of cinema as a medium. Read Ceylan to understand how he has evolved as a director: "The placement of how high a camera should be depends on the straight lines one sees on the screen." Thespianique! Ceylan started with a team of 1 person in his first film (himself) to progress a team of 14 technicians in this film. No need to say more. Acting of all cast is brilliant! It is Ceylan show all the way! Watch it.

(8 out of 10)

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