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Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Turkey, 2011

Cornerhouse, 26 March 2012

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

This is a film whose meandering, digressive style creates a sense of abundant life, teeming being.

We are in the closing stages of a police investigation: a man has confessed – whether correctly or not – to murder and now it’s a matter of locating the body of the victim.  In the dark of the night, the search proves to be none too successful and so prosecutor, police and perpetrator repair to a nearby village for refreshments and rest.

What s the film about?  Well, there’s the portrait of modernTurkey, a country at once Asian and aspirant European.  The contrast between city and village is made plain.  There is the concern with truth – the facts of the case – and in the end a refusal to look too deeply.  Put it down to a dizzying nausea brought on by a night of sifting through the stuff of others’ souls.  Ultimately, that’s what the film leaves you with: a compassionate letting be.

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