Sunday, 10 November 2013

Once Upon A Time In Anatolia

Once Upon A Time in Anatolia – Nuri Ceylan – A long and draining film that moves between a sense of biblical allegory, male weaknesses and spiritual transcendence. A group of men, including a doctor, policeman and two men who have confessed to a killing, go in search of the victim of said killing. The film feels, at times, oppressively heavy with its meditation upon life and mortality – never in an explicit or clumsy manner, instead as a nascent atmosphere of sadness that seems to weigh down on the landscape…and increasingly, upon the men who journey into the night. In the character of the doctor, the search for the body begins to take on a metaphysical/existential dimension, conjuring a rite of passage. Moving from a youthful energy to a stoic acceptance. Meanwhile women remain points of mystery, purity or beauty in the film. Unlike these dam burdened males, with their wandering, wrongs and woes. In one scene, on encountering the mayor of a town on his remote and rural property, the group are invited for dinner at lamplight. The male conversation and prevailing shadows are momentarily disrupted – the mayor’s daughter walks in, serving drinks. Her presence seems to cast an ineffable serenity upon the scene, bordering on angelic. One man is reduced to tears, and it is a testament to the film’s power that this does not seem strange. It is a mesmeric and tiring, but also deeply moving, film. Not one to settle down to on a whim.  7.5/10

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