Nuri Bilge Ceylan's critically acclaimed film tells the story of middle-aged photographer Mahmut, who is obliged to put up in his Istanbul apartment his unemployed young cousin Yusuf, who has left his home village in search of work. Haunted by the feeling that the gap between his life and his ideals is growing. Mahmut grows increasingly irritated by his provincial young relative's encroachment into his closed and colourless world. With great wit and subtlety, 'Uzak' explores the isolation of city life and features outstanding performances from Muzaffer Ozdemir as Mahmut and Mehmet Emin Toprak as Yusuf. Tragically, Toprak was killed in a car accident shortly after completion of filming; he posthumously won, jointly with Ozdemir, the Best Actor prize at Cannes in 2003.
A study of nothing in particular
- Uzak review by Andy P
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You rated this film: 2
If you like minimalism, this is probabaly worth a watch, after all critics awarded it a clutch of awards at various film festivals.
I found it a tedious, rather dull insight into the lives of two turks shambling around a snowbound Istanbul. I could see where the awards came from as loneliness and boredom seeped from the screen. Taking the film as a study into the dreary minutiae of human existence, I think it hit the nail on the head.
Taking the film as a film i.e. thought provoking entertainment, it failed to entertain or provoke much thought, other than when it would end
Of the Turkish films I've seen the common link is long, unusual and interesting scenes with no camera movement, crisp lighting and a mid-distant figure walking or smoking. The plot is based on very plain characters doing very plain things in ordinary ways. The interest is in subtle interactions requiring incredible acting for which Toprak and Ozdemir were justly rewarded. The tragedy and sadness is all the more for the ordinariness. Having said that it is a bit too slow in parts but if you're feeling chilled it is worth a watch, there is even a bit a humour in bits (e.g.the host gets stuck on his own mouse trap spying on his guest).