Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s quiet epic is a marked testament to tone and mood, subverting its titular fairytale prefix to the Nth degree. With Once Upon A Time In Anatolia Ceylan placed the cinema of Turkey firmly on the worlds stage, with the regionalised subversion of a familiar sub-genre breaking out of the festival circuit and playing in cinemas to impressive (and impressed audiences).
Taking the police procedural drama and placing it within the iconic and unique backdrop of the Turkish Steppe Ceylan produced an in-road to an alien land via cinema itself. The film takes place across one night, as the police, a doctor and a confessor search the land for a body which the latter claims to have buried somewhere in the Steppe. The topographical is equal parts beautiful and sinister, as is the fable-like story at the centre of the film. Convention is denied at every turning point, creating one of the most overwhelming visions on-screen in 2012.
Read our review here.
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Selected criticism on Once Upon A Time In Anatolia – Philip French on Once Upon A Time In Anatolia.