Monday, August 08, 2011

ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011)

****½
Turkey/Bosnia-Herzegovina
When a film opens with a police car's headlights scouring a barren, isolated hillside, you expect a certain kind of story. Nuri Bilge Ceylan is resolutely uninterested in that story, or the rhythm that tends to accompany it. Particularly in the context of this opening setup, his own narrative rhythm takes more than a little adjusting, but when you 'get' it, it's something of a revelation.

Ceylan isn't interested in epic events so much as the intricate lives, histories, pesonal demons and perspectives that inform, bring meaning and tension to even the most mundane moment. It's rare for an artist today to be so centrally concerned with the human condition, and it's even rarer to be able to dissect said condition with Chekhovian skill and insight.

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