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Once Upon a Time in Anatolia(Bir zamanlar Anadolu'da)

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Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina · 2011
2h 30m
Director Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Starring Muhammet Uzuner, Yılmaz Erdoğan, Taner Birsel, Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan
Genre Crime, Drama

In the rural area around the Anatolian town of Keskin, the local prosecutor, police commissar, and doctor lead a search for a victim of a murder to whom a suspect named Kenan and his mentally challenged brother confessed, but the search proves more difficult than they expected.

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What are people saying?

Ricardo Rico Profile picture for Ricardo Rico

Watching this film feels very meditative. The scenes and shots are long and often very static, usually giving us a great view of the Anatolian mountains. There's also interesting musing on the nature of violence and humanity that will stick with you if you're patient with the films pacing.

What are critics saying?


Salon by Andrew O'Hehir

What a handful of patient moviegoers may find in Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, however, is a subtle, gorgeous and mysterious allegory that may be Ceylan's masterwork to date.


Slant Magazine by Andrew Schenker

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.


Time Out by David Fear

There's too much beauty and ballast in the movie's early stages to dismiss Ceylan's cerebral cop drama, and too much genuine banality in its latter acts to justify a sluggish slouch into the shallow end.


IndieWire by Eric Kohn

Nuri Bilge Ceylan's mesmerizing Once Upon a Time in Anatolia plays like "Zodiac" meets "Police, Adjective."


Village Voice by J. Hoberman

A 157-minute police procedural at once sensuous and cerebral, profane and metaphysical, "empty" and abundant, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is closer to the Antonioni of "L'Avventura," and it elevates the 52-year-old director to a new level of achievement.


New York Daily News by Joe Neumaier

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.


Variety by Justin Chang

Though its glacial pacing will represent a significant hurdle for many viewers, the film grows steadily more involving as dawn breaks and the men make their way back home, and its unflinching observations of the legal and medical establishment at work frequently rivet. Visually, it's as gorgeous a film as Ceylan has made.


The New York Times by Manohla Dargis

A metaphysical road movie about life, death and the limits of knowledge, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia has arrived just in time to cure the adult filmgoer blues.


The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

The body means different things for each of them, and Ceylan's mesmerizing existential drama takes its time establishing the players and bringing their inner lives into focus. It's cinema as autopsy.

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