Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

September 16, 2012 No Comments

Rating:  9/10

Life is not  reducible to sound bites nor easily expanded into predictable sequels.

Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylor invites us on a journey (nearly 3 hours long) where “No Country for Old Men” collides with “Pulp Fiction” in his mesmerizing film “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia.”  To describe the “what” of this film overwhelms the experience of this visually stunning search for the truth (via a caravan of police-types bent on “digging up” the victim of a senseless (or is it?) crime).  The first two hours of the film occur at night, where the prosecutor, the policeman, the doctor and the perpetrator exchange quips and accusations–there is a centrally recurring story told of a woman who chooses to die following the birth of her child–and many questions remain unanswered.  Many.  We are encouraged to feel the film and must pay attention to the details (some banal, some crucial) to maintain our tenuous grasp on the sparse narrative.  There are intersections of storylines and emotional pain that permit us access to the characters’ internal struggles.  And again, the photography is stark at times and painterly (in the classic sense) at others.  It is too difficult to outline plot.  This film won the Grand Prize at Cannes in 2011 and received no distribution in our area, until rescued by the Detroit Film Theater’s keen appreciation this weekend.  So, you may have to wait until it is released on DVD.  It’s worth the wait.  Jolyn Wagner

Must See Movie of the Week

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