ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA
Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Starring: Yilmaz Erdogan, Muhammet Uzuner, Firat Tanis
From “Taste of Cherry” grain, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s lengthy meditative tale of murder and discovery unfolds upon sparse terrain, and with an even sparser sense of the motivations and aims behind the crime committed. Officers combing countryside through routine and duty find themselves altered during this 160-minute story of one night’s events, with “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” becoming less of a procedural crime drama than an evaluation of the human psyche. While Ceylan’s “Climates” kept us at a frustrating distance from its characters, this film draws us in, alluding to nature’s enveloping power over the human conscious without making these concerned men into objects or ciphers. An impending sense of dread befalls them, and their urge to reach a conclusion becomes tempered, fraught, and grievous. Ceylan fills this bronze landscape with pathos, and makes its weary visitors feel so imposed upon by the bigger picture – subservient to emotion, temptation, and the moment.