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Once Upon a Time in Anatolia


also known as: Bir zamanlar Anadolu'da

directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 157 minutes

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"It needs to be long, and it needs to be indirect, because the film is about how sad truths can be revealed during the slow process of doing a job." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

In the dead of night, a group of men (among them, a police commissioner, a prosecutor, a doctor and a murder suspect) drive through the Anatolian countryside, the serpentine roads and rolling hills lit only by the headlights of their cars. They are searching for a corpse, the victim of a brutal murder. The suspect, who claims he was drunk, can't remember where he buried the body. As night wears on, details about the murder emerge and the investigators' own secrets come to light. In the Anatolian steppes nothing is what it seems. When the body is found, the real questions begin.

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2 users found this helpful Created 7 months ago.

About a half hour too long for me, but...this movie is a must-see no matter what I think.

Anyone who sets out to make a movie that takes non-God-focused spirituality and the "irrational" seriously has a hard road ahead of them these days. Ceylan takes on this task and I think succeeds completely. Watch for the scene with the lantern about halfway through. The moment of transcendence that the characters experience is completely believable to the audience. I can't think of another film I've seen recently that accomplishes that feat so thoroughly. The only title I'm coming up with is 'Days of Heaven" and that was released 35 years ago.

1 user found this helpful Created over 1 year ago.

Once upon a time in Anatolia - was a formidable and complex set of relationships of the characters filled with sympathy, predjudice, tantrums, and life & death all balanced in a confined space.

Created over 1 year ago.

Not bad at all. Sucks that I had to watch this on VOD -- this film deserved a wider release.

Created 5 months ago.

There is quiet space that reveals more truth in these characters than all the words spoken. I am worn down but captivated by its familiarity. Yet there is something emerging through each moment I did not see, a revelation that speaks to more than the circumstances, something striking and brutal.