Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Bir zamanlar Anadolu’da, Turkey-Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Nothing happening in the middle of nowhere

Most of this long film consists of a group of policemen and officials looking for a corpse but the perpetrator can’t remember where the body is buried. This leaves plenty of time for beautiful compositions, the direction is quite brilliant, and discussions between the men involved. They talk about everyday things, things that matter to all of us so the context of the setting is no barrier to engagement. At times it’s funny, the doctor goes for a piss and is frightened by a rockface ,and some of discussions border on the ridiculous, but writer-director Nuri-Bilge Ceylan never pokes fun at his characters.

The title may have echoes in Sergio Leone’s film, and there is a slight sense of the frontier in Anatolia; a village major takes the opportunity to politick with the prosecutor. Women are barely present in the film but their stories are important; presumably a comment upon the marginalisation of women in ‘outback’ Turkey?

I found the film riveting for all of its two and a half hours.

One Response

  1. [...] Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Turkey/Bosnia-Herzogovina 2011) [...]

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