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Once Upon a Time in Anatolia [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: Muhammet Uzuner, Y lmaz Erdo an, Taner Birsel
  • Directors: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Turkish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: New Wave Films
  • DVD Release Date: 9 July 2012
  • Run Time: 157 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007N6XLHI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,377 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

An epic and rigorous tale of a night and day in a murder investigation, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is a beautifully photographed crime drama about police and prosecutors locating a buried body through one long night in the Anatolian steppes. In the short prologue three men are drinking and talking. Then a convoy of cars is travelling around the countryside at night as one of the men seen earlier is trying to remember where a body was buried. After several false leads and a rest in a remote village, the body is finally discovered early the next morning. In the course of the long investigation the characters and hidden thoughts of the main protagonists are gradually themselves exhumed.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 72 people found the following review helpful By G. Day on 4 Nov 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The reviews quoted on the sleeve of this DVD give a totally misleading impression of the nature of the film. "A thriller as challenging as Antonioni's Blow-up..." says The Observer; "Murder mysteries rarely run so deep" says Time Out.
This is NOT a thriller and it is NOT a murder mystery, and I'm concerned that people might end up disliking it simply because it's not what they were led to expect. Even The Guardian's description of the film as "stunning" and "exhilarating" is a bit deceptive, because this is much more slow-burning than those words suggest.
There's not much plot, not much action, not much suspense and not much mystery, but the absence of these ingredients clears the way for a constant stream of understated visual poetry, a warm glow of human sympathy, a recurrent vein of unforced humour and a quiet, humble dignity that would not otherwise make themselves heard. The pleasure is in the journey, not in the destination.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Fiddlesticks on 2 Dec 2012
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Be forewarned that this film attempts to tell a story in an authentic, almost real-time approach, which necessarily removes the sense of drama and excitement that many people expect in a movie.

Personally, however, I found Ceylan's approach captivating. The result is more like epic literature than film. I think this has to do with the harmony between script, actors and photography. If we are going to be confronted with long takes of pensive, brooding faces, those faces had better be interesting and the photography had better be good. They are. The cinematography captures every nuance of the superbly reserved acting. For despite all the dialog (it is Ceylan's most "talkative" film to date), the spiritual depth captured by the camera remains mostly unspoken.

Another reviewer called the film "atmospheric". I think that term sums it up well. This is emphatically not a "murder mystery" as a review quoted on the back cover claims. It is odd that New Wave Films have used such a misleading quote (which was probably taken out of context). People who watch it based on such a quote will be disappointed twice: not only is it not a murder mystery in the classic sense, i.e. a thriller that builds tension until the crime is solved, it is not really even a murder mystery at all because the film's central focus is a social-psychological portrait of a group of men, and not the crime itself which merely functions as a sort of loose framework.

There are too many beautiful scenes to recount them all, but one of the most memorable takes place at the village mayor's home when the investigators show up ín the middle of the night and are treated to his warm hospitality.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By techpuppy TOP 50 REVIEWER on 13 July 2012
Format: DVD
Most murder mysteries take you on a journey to find the criminal, this one introduces the murderers within the first few minutes and then sets off to find the victim. The killers, who appear to have murdered their victim in a drunken stupor, can't remember where they've left the body and so a fractious band of men, including the police chief, a doctor, soldiers and local prosecutor, spend all night searching the deserted countryside by the light of their headlamps trying to locate it. The story, such as it is, is only a ruse to spend time with these men - and it's very much about men as barely a female voice is heard throughout the movie. As these men bicker and talk, mostly about banalities, they slowly reveal themselves, all their petty rivalries and hierarchies, their frustrations and occasionally their moral indignation at the events they're immersed in.

On paper, it sounds like the perfect arthouse-snob's movie - it's Turkish, it's over two and a half hours long, nothing really happens, people talk a lot, the central crime isn't really what it's about and it even had the temerity to win at Cannes - but don't let any of that put you off. On screen, it's luminous with moments of jaw-dropping cinematography, much of it shot at dusk when they must have had minutes to catch a shot before the light went, and there are some setups that must have taken forever to get right - just how many apples did they roll down that hill?

Slight spoiler alert! The last line of dialogue comes some minutes before the end and, like much of the movie before it, is somehow banal and profound at the same time.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By deejtarr on 21 May 2012
Format: DVD
The storyline could be something taken from a Coen brothers film and at times this does have a sprinkling of the same wit and the same obscure, existential intentions- particularly of the more recent work. However, there is little that seems worthy of comparison with what this film manages to achieve, with the sometimes stark, sometimes magical beauty of its photography.

The film is shot for the most part at night and so the locations within which they attempt to track down the victim's corpse are steeped in an other worldliness, not really belonging to places we might immediately recognise and yet still full of the minutiae of human drama- the death of a friend's wife, buffalo cheese (or is it yoghurt?), a child's medication- all unfolding around the incidence of a brutal murder, the motive of which is never fully explained.

The final shot- which I will not describe for fear of lessening its effect- is simply haunting and I get goose-bumps thinking of it even now.
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