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The highly acclaimed, award-winning Turkish film Distant is a deeply compassionate and frequently amusing study of quiet desperation, prompting many critics to favorably compare writer-director Nuri Bilge Ceylan's subtly hypnotic drama to the films of Ozu and Tarkovsky. Watch closely and you'll recognize someone you know, or even yourself, and the quietest moments are the most enjoyably revealing. Muzaffer Özdemir and Mehmet Emin Toprak shared Best Actor honors at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival for their perfectly nuanced performances as (respectively) divorced, 40-something photographer Mahmut and his distant relative Yusef, who arrives in Istanbul looking for work, and quickly wears out his welcome. Tensions mount, revealing solitude as the natural (if not preferred) state of these lonely, melancholy men. (In the context of this film, it's tragically ironic that Toprak was killed in an auto accident, at age 28, six months before his honors at Cannes.) With understated humor, Ceylan observes Mahmut and Yusef's chronic isolation, but he never passes judgment. Distant could've been made anywhere and it would yield the same visually seductive study of detachment. Tune into its wavelength and you'll find it unforgettable. --Jeff Shannon
- Koza, a short film by the director
- Interview with the Director
- Behind-the-scenes footage
- Foreign Theatrical Trailer
- photo gallery
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I enjoyed it, but it was rather bleak. The film did a great job of communicating that hopeless feeling in life rather well, as well as the disconnect that can come between friends. The scene where he finds the pocket-watch but does not tell Yusuf was perhaps my favorite part. The part where he wanted to, but could not bring himself to, approach a woman was also very good. Especially the part on the train where the woman's leg is close to his. This basically sums up what it is like to be a man. We can be, without a woman, very lonely creatures. God bless women. Amen.
Thanks for showing me this poignant film. I will re-visit it again for sure. I'm glad I picked it up.
This is the context for Nuri Bilge Ceylan's third full-length feature that focuses on two protagonists. Yusuf (M. Emin Toprak) comes from the country to seek his fortune and lodges with his near- relative Mahmut (Muzaffer Özdemir). Full of optimism at the start, Yusuf discovers that finding a job is not as straightforward in İstanbul as he had anticipated, and ends up spending most of his days either trudging the streets or lolling in front of the television. Meanwhile Mahmut pursues his career as a photographer while becoming increasingly resentful of Yusuf's presence within his midst.
Around this straightforward plot director Ceylan creates a harsh, unforgiving world dominated by alienation. As Mahmut and Yusuf look out of the apartment window, they see nothing but an oppressive view of other gray-looking apartment blocks, with ships slowly traveling up and down the Bosphorus in the distance. Mahmut seldom if ever talks to Yusuf except to wish him goodnight, and treats his guest as something of a social leper. At one point Mahmut sniffs Yusuf's shoes and sprays them with air-freshener before putting them away in a cupboard. As he walks round the streets, Yusuf finds that most İstanbullus don't want to know him; they either respond to his queries in monosyllables, or simply don't talk to him at all. In one shot he is shown sitting moodily in a sailors' café drinking tea and smoking, half-listening to the other customers but also in a trance-like state.
Despite his outward success as a photographer, Mahmut is equally alienated from his surroundings. As in MAYIS SIKINTISI, where Muzaffer (once again played by Özdemir) was a movie-maker using his parents as actors, UZAK shows how the use of a camera represents something of a flight from a reality, a vicarious imitation of life rather than a practical engagement with it. Being a photographer gives Mahmut a feeling of purpose in an otherwise sterile life, as demonstrated by the sight of him sitting moodily in a bar drinking beer and smoking, not talking to anyone. Ceylan introduces a sub- plot showing Mahmut's relationship with ex-wife Nazan (Zuhal Gencer Erkaya), that further alerts us to the sterility of his life.
Ceylan reinforces the theme of distance with a cinematic style guaranteed to place a gap between ourselves and the characters. There are several shot-sequences repeated throughout the narrative (Mahmut in a bar, Yusuf in the sailor's café, both men looking out moodily at the Bosphorus); while the characters are shown sitting down in Mahmut's apartment with the television on, but making no attempt to look at it. It is just an item of visual wallpaper, the enemy in the corner.
As in his other movies, Ceylan's narrative unfolds at a leisurely pace, with lengthy shots containing little or no dialogue. It is the atmosphere that matters; the sight of the characters standing wistfully by the Bosphorus reminds us of the power of the elements and the inability of the protagonists to understand this power. They are doomed to live unfulfilled lives in semi-perpetual isolation.
UZAK continues the themes of Ceylan's earlier work, while introducing further levels of meaning, centering especially on the parallels and differences between rural and city life in contemporary Turkey. It is, quite simply, a modern classic.
The movie is not a fast phased one and you should be patience to get to the very surprisingly delicate ending moment you will definately feel what this middle aged guy feel. You will be stunned by feeling his loneliness, his loss of his tiresome reletive that he thought that was a burden to thim who is something that he wanted to get rid.
There is this guy who has no job visits this old guy who is a reletive to find a job.
The old let's say about 50, guy who is a art photographer has a visitor who is a young guy about 25 who is trying to get a job at a ship.
He is kind of lazy barefaced guy but honest and never rob or do anything bad.
But when he stays long, the old guy even suspects that he is stealing something from him.
Then he is not pleased with him not turning off the lights that he is not using. Then then some. He begins to think that the young reletive guy is just annoying.
He cannot watch porn free and everything is just not working well with him around.
He begins to be not nice to him anymore.
The young guy feels this too.
But who cares, he is a barefaced somehow. He stays longer.
But one day when the old reletive is suspicious about his watch being lost, he is kind of upset. It fact he found it and didn't tell him that he did.
One day the snowy day, without any notice, he is gone with all of his bags.
Finding this out, the old guy goes to the port and just sits there for hours.
He thinks that he will feel good but instead, he feels this loneliness for the first time in his life.
For him the young guy made him feel that someone is with him for the first time he taught him the meaning of living with someone together.
Now that he is gone, he is all lost.
We see the camera slowly zooms into his face.
We cannot but to feel his being totally lost and lonely for the first time.
I even wanted to cry a little.
This is a masterpiece.
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- the amazing interpretation of the lead character, he is fabulous.Read more