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3.7 out of 5 stars
Uzak (Distant) [DVD] [2002]
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 9 January 2006
"Uzak" (Distant) is a fascinating exploration of the character of a divorced, middle-aged Istanbul photographer, Mahmut, and his relationship with his unemployed cousin, Yusuf, who comes to stay with him in his apartment overlooking the Bosphorus. Both of the cousins are in their own way distant, or disconnected, from the rest of society, full of apprehension about the future and of regret about the past. "Uzak" is clearly influenced by the films of Andrei Tarkovsky; it is very slow paced and haunting with nearly every image beautifully constructed and every sound perfectly sculpted. Like Tarkovsky's films, "Uzak" will not be to everyone's taste and I suspect many people would find this film merely to be a slow-moving ,dull story about two unwanted bored men lazing around a flat feeling sorry for themselves. However I found it to be a visually sumptuous insight into the human condition and modern life, tackling personal issues like divorce, belonging and loneliness and social issues like urbanisation, globalisation and deindustrialisation with great subtletly and deftness of touch. "Uzak" is a memorable film ;an excellent contribution by Turkey to World Cinema.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 2008
This film is one of the best I have ever seen - visually stunning, I wanted to look at every cm of every scene. The story is a study of the imperfections of human relationships, the complex reasons behind seeming selfishness. Totally absorbing, I have watched it several times now, find different levels in it each time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This is one of the most beautiful films i've ever seen and one of the most moving too.

On the one hand there is the breathtaking cinematography - for example the scene in which Yusuf runs along the quayside in the snow and passes a ship leaning crookedly towards the shore.

On the other there is the understated dialogue, the way in which so much is said through faces and through absences.

The storyline is quietly compelling and the underlying issues are (i hate this word) relevant: migration, urbanisation, modernisation, globalisation... all the "ations" you can eat.

A classic.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2005
Very little seems to be happening in this film and there is very little dialogue, so at times it is difficult to know what is going on. The viewer has to work out a lot for her or himself. However, the acting is so brilliant and the camera work so riveting, that these factors do not matter. I found myself getting completely involved in the situation. The final scene when the camera focussed on Mahmut's face for, it seemed, several minutes,was very powerful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 April 2013
Turkish photographer, screenwriter and director Nuri Bilge Ceylan`s third feature film which he wrote and produced, is inspired by his own experiences. It was screened In competition at the 56th Cannes International Film Festival in 2003, was shot in Istanbul, Turkey and is a Turkish production. It tells the story about a middle-aged photographer named Mahmut who lives in an apartment in Istanbul and who one day is visited by his cousin named Yusuf who comes from the countryside.

Distinctly and acutely directed by Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan, this rhythmic and somewhat autobiographical fictional tale which is narrated from the two main character`s viewpoints, draws a quiet and moving portrayal of a relationship between two Turkish relatives from different generations. While notable for its naturalistic milieu depictions, sterling production design by Turkish production designer Ebru Ceylan, cinematography by Nuri Bilge Ceylan and use of sound and music, this character-driven, narrative-driven and colorful story depicts two internal and interrelated studies of character.

This naturally humorous and incisive drama which is set during a winter in the capital of Turkey, is impelled and reinforced by its fleeting narrative structure, subtle character development and the remarkable acting performances by Turkish actors Muzaffer Ödemir and Mehmet Emin Toprak (1974-2002). A genuinely compassionate and singular character piece which gained, among several other awards, the Grand Prix Nuri Bilge Ceylan at the 56th Cannes Film Festival in 2003.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 2 December 2004
Uzak is a masterpiece of human realism. Influenced visually by Tarkovsky and thematically by Chekhov it explores the conflict between rural communalism and the comfortable individualism of city-life. The cinematography express a moving portrayal of Istanbul both beautiful and scarred while the acting is raw, realistic and powerful. The sound and soundtrack accompany the film smoothly. Overall Uzak creates a hushed reflection of relationships and humanity in a realistic portrayal of twenty-first century life in Istanbul.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 30 August 2008
One of the best films to have been released in recent years and an excellent insight into post 1999 earthquake Turkey.

You will have to watch the film at least twice (I did) The first time you watch it you will be thinking "This film is awful" "The sound quality is terrible" "The acting is awful" It is only when you watch it for a second time that you start to appreciate it.

For a start the character Mahmut was not chosen because of his acting ability he was chosen due to his facial expressions and how well he fitted the character, the quality of sound reflects the realism of the film there is no background music (apart from those coming from chimes blown by the wind) There is a lack of light in the apartment again, to add to the realism of the film.

Turkey was going through a tough time when this film was made, the economic crisis made thousands jobless and those already without jobs even more desperate, everyone was looking for work and using whatever connections they had to find employment.

This film is no east V west or modern V traditional but rather the life of 2 ordinary Turks on screen. On the one hand we have Mahmut, from rural Turkey (as most of the population is) who had came to Istanbul many years before, made it good largely through his own hard work and made a decent life for himself. Sadly, his personal life has not been so fortunate. Divorced from his wife in spite of his numerous friends he is a lonely character seemingly finding solace in prostitutes and alcohol.

Then along comes Yusuf, straight from Mahmuts home village and seeking work after the local factory has closed down he arrives in Istanbul with no real idea of how to find a job and no comprehension that Mahmut has his own problems to deal with and the last thing he could possibly want would be a relative who thinks he is going to find work, a partner and a whole new life for him in the big city.

This film is perhaps the most accurate analysis of the tensions that go on every day in large cities in Turkey between those already settled there and those who have newly arrived. One point that is missing though, there is no mention of Yusuf being either invited to stay with Mahmud or just arriving without notice I would have been interested in the dynamics of that.

An excellent film, one to watch and watch again (Just wish more of this directors films were available!)
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First of all I want to say a word about the classification on this DVD, which is absurdly stated as 18. This erroneous rating is surely one of the worst I have seen, as according to the BBFC site the film is rated 15. It is a small niggle, however I do feel for those legions of 17 year olds who were unable to purchase/rent this, and for those over 18 hoping for some spicy scenes (there aren't any). For shame Artifical Eye!

The film itself is wonderful. It is largely devoid of dialogue and is filled with quiet, contemplative scenes in which a couple of guys co-exist together in a detached state in an apartment. One of the guys (Yusef) spends some time fruitlessly looking for work on a ship, to deviate only to follow some women around. The other (Mahmut) watches TV, has some quality time with a woman or two, hangs out in a bar, begrudgingly visits his ill mother and takes a trip with his increasingly unwanted guest (though not in that order). This is the summary I will give to my friends, none of which will watch it after such a feeble attempt I am certain.

What this film does really well is capture the isolation of these individuals as they spend time alone together. Yusef makes himself seemingly a burden in a short space of time and Mahmut goes about his business and finds no comfort or companionship in the presence of his relative. Scenes of existential dilemma's aplenty here, and for me the film hit the odd nerve or two making it a bit uncomfortable to watch, yet still very compelling.
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on 26 February 2015
I have seen this film on youtube once in low resolution (now removed), otherwise I would probably never had known about it - and I can't forget it. The film - its actors - the music, the city, the landscape, the river - it touched something in me, I can't really explain. The characters are each desperate for love and social companionship, but without a plan for a successful life - the life goes by like that, chances for a better life go by or have gone by. I often come across films where what is said does not really matter. In this film there is sparse dialogue, the pictures tell the story about a two men - who seek their luck, but do not find it - even when it at their feet and they stumble across it. This is not an action film - this is a film that let's you take a look at the disconnected life of two men that are characteristic for our time.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2007
May I remind those reviewers below who found the film too slow and boring for its lack of action, that there is a constant supply of action movies coming off the Hollywood production line to keep you entertained for life.
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