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Uzak (Distant) [DVD] 
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Translated into English as 'Distant', this bleak and poignant drama directed by Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan reflects on the loneliness and neuroses of modern urban life. Mahmut (Muzaffer Özdemir) is a middle-aged photographer living and working in Istanbul, whose tidy habits and cool demeanour are tried when his young cousin Yusuf (Emin Toprak, who was tragically killed in a car crash shortly after the film was completed) comes to stay with him while he looks for work. Yusuf is a good-natured but insensitive country boy from a poor village background, while Mahmut is a modern professional who is on the verge of a mid-life crisis since his ex-wife's announcement that she is leaving for Canada with her new husband. The two men form an awkward relationship, which is reflected in their inability to communicate with others around them.
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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.
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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