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82
Based on 21 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 2 )
  • 50
    Mick LaSalle San Francisco Chronicle

    Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is boring, but not in the usual way of boring movies. It is colossally, memorably and audaciously boring. show more

  • 60
    Joe Neumaier New York Daily News

    Acclaimed director Nuri Bilge Ceylan's meditative, at times maddening expression of human mystery and barren landscapes is gorgeous to look at, intriguing to think about and, at times, hard to sit through. show more

  • 70
    The Hollywood Reporter

    For those willing to take the plunge, it is a deep and haunting work that lingers in the memory. show more

  • 85
    Michelle Orange Movieline

    Tectonic pacing builds to a series of imperceptible and yet earth-moving moments in Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, a habeas corpus procedural stretched across two and a half discursive hours. show more

  • 100
    Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune

    The wondrous cinematography is by Gokhan Tiryaki. It is not an easy picture. Not many masterpieces are. show more

  • 100
    Liam Lacey The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

    If the word masterpiece has any use these days, it must apply to the film Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, a mature, philosophically resonant work from Turkey's leading director, 53-year-old Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Climates, Distance, Three Monkeys). show more

  • 88
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    Nuri Bilge Ceylan, one of Turkey's best directors, has a deep understanding of human nature. He loves his characters and empathizes with them. They deserve better than to be shuttled around in a facile plot. They deserve empathy. So do we all. show more

  • 88
    Wesley Morris Boston Globe

    Eerily tragic and chillingly hard to come to terms with. show more

  • 75
    V.A. Musetto New York Post

    Patient viewers will be rewarded, as long as they pay attention. Lots of what at first seems inconsequential is actually of great import - but Ceylan isn't letting on. And yes, the cinematography is impressive. show more

  • 38
    Andrew Schenker Slant Magazine

    Nuri Bilge Ceylan has to be the least kinetic of working filmmakers - and not simply in the sense of static camerawork or lack of narrative momentum. show more

  • December 22, 2012 yl00000000102243
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  • September 16, 2012 er00000000129482
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    Turkish film-maker Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s new film ‘Once Upon a Time in Anatolia’ is about the aftermath of a murder. The film starts at night, where a group of men go into the countryside to find the body of a murder victim. The group includes the two men accused of the murder,one of whom has confessed and states he will confirm where they buried the body. The group consists of a police chief and some of his men, a public prosecutor, a doctor, some diggers and guards. Kenan, the confessor, leads the men on a merry dance, the night drags on into the early hours, the men grow tired and annoyed, taking their frustrations out on each other. You start to learn about these troubled souls, unravelling their fears and desires, their part in the scheme of things. Often in a comedic tone, you learn about corruption and the neglect suffered by many, and the ineptitude of the state exemplified by the diggers who forgot to bring a pick and a body bag! The night scenes are beautifully shot, across the countryside using the cars headlights and scenes in a village by candlelight. Dreamlike scenes with a young woman, by candlelight, who becomes a moral beacon for many of the men to confront their actions, including Kenan who is so moved by her presence that he confesses to knowing exactly where the body is. Scenes are slow and painstakingly considered, full of symbolism and thoughtfulness. One memorable scene sees an apple drop from a tree and the camera follows the apple going downhill into a stream, whilst in the background you can hear the men quarrelling over their laughable attempts at finding the corpse. Poetry exists not just in the beautiful but the mundane. Having adapted to the pace of the film, you begin to realise this film concentrates on the mechanisms of the investigation rather than the murder itself. The men slowly reveal themselves but you are still often none the wiser, especially in the conversations between the world-weary prosecutor Nusret and the more sensitive Dr. Cemal, who become the central characters to the story. They exchange views on a mysterious death over a few lengthy scenes, through their silences and subtle facial expressions you learn a little more about each other but both are still so opaque that you are left to decide for yourself as to what they were really trying to reveal about their lives. Everyone seems to be guilty of something, but Ceylan stubbornly and enigmatically refuses to reveal enough for you to feel as if its all made sense. You’ll need a great deal of patience to watch what is quite a long film, but ‘Once Upon a Time in Anatolia’ is a strangely warm, very funny and intensely emotional study of Turkish life that will lea

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