Thursday, 26 April 2012

Once upon a time in Anatolia

This film was so different from most contemporary work, as it gradually unfolds the characters of an ordinary group of people in a remote area of Turkey,  without resort to cliches and stereotypes. Instead each character is shown as having evident faults and virtues and confusions.   In the words of Nigel Andrews, film critic for the Financial Times:

"It says, shockingly, marvellously, messianically, that a living community, or family or human being, is by essence dysfunctional.  If something or someone does'nt work, it is in a state of grace, progress or evolution.  If it does work, it has merely completed its job and is probably dead".

This was a long film and action developed slowly.  At first I thought, "not more villians and cops doing the Pulp Fiction thing of combining the mundane with mindless violence", but it was far more complex than that,  as each character developed and became more sympathetic, and as the scene shifted from hillside to village and into the town, so the atmosphere altered. The explosion of violence that I expected constantly never occurred.  Instead each man reentered his life altered by the night's experiences. As Andrews comments, that is the constant process of change that is life.

The director of the film is Nuri Bilge Ceylan.  This film was joint winner of Cannes Grand Prix, 2011.

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