(Ceylan 2002) Uzak [Distant]

This is a slow-paced psy­cho­log­i­cal dra­ma, styl­is­ti­cal­ly influ­enced by Tarkovsky. It holds atten­tion because the act­ing is superb, the psy­cho­log­i­cal nuances real­is­tic. One scene, for exam­ple, involv­ing a lost watch, stands out for the fine-tuned per­for­mances of the two lead actors, Muzaf­fer Ozdemir and Emin Toprak. Sad­ly, Toprak died in a car crash short­ly after learn­ing he had received his award at Cannes. The cin­e­matog­ra­phy is first rate, with Istan­bul buried in snow form­ing a grey back­drop to the claus­tro­pho­bic inte­ri­or shots and tight­ly repressed rela­tion­ships of the char­ac­ters. It’s a grim film, but the sym­pa­thy of the script makes this tol­er­a­ble to the view­er, and the cam­era con­veys both the beau­ty and the bleak­ness of a Turk­ish win­ter.

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