DISTANT

“A movie of quiet revelations…thoughtfully orchestrated and filled with visual wit. Working in the tradition of Michelangelo Antonioni’s early-‘60s (and Abbas Kiarostami’s early-‘90s) modernism, Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan should secure his reputation here…”
— J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

A man facing our direction but looking beyond us, with a snowy street in the background

Mahmut is a relatively successful commercial photographer who has been struggling to come to terms with the growing gap between his artistic ideals and his professional obligations. His tedious workload, coupled with the lingering loss he still feels for his ex-wife (newly married and on the verge of leaving Istanbul for Canada), leaves Mahmut clinging to the melancholic and obsessive routines of his solitary life.

Without warning, Mahmut’s distant relative Yusuf arrives in Istanbul determined to find a job aboard a ship so that he may fulfill his dream of traveling around the world. In need of a place to stay as he searches for work, Yusuf imposes himself on Mahmut, who resents the sudden intrusion, but nonetheless feels obliged to help his family. It doesn’t take long for Yusuf to discover that the work he is looking for isn’t available, but he manages to prolong his stay with Mahmut by formulating stories that would suggest otherwise. His hope waning, Yusuf resorts to spending his days drifting through the streets of Istanbul, slowly coming to the realization that without work he may soon need to return home. Mahmut tries to help by offering him a job as his assistant during a photography shoot, but the fix is temporary. As the two men struggle to make a connection, communication is slowly reduced to the bare minimum; and their time together must come to an end.

Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan wrote, directed, photographed, produced and co-edited this profoundly beautiful picture about detachment and isolation without allowing the austerity of his story to overwhelm the heartwarming, often comic, moments that permeate this award-winning film. Set in a wintry, contemporary Istanbul, the stunning cinematography was clearly instrumental in procuring the Grand Prix at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, where Muzaffer Özdemir and Mehmet Emin Toprak also shared best actor honors for their remarkable performances.

Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan.  Country: Turkey. In Turkish with English subtitles. 2002 Running time: 110 min.

“Close to Perfect. A movie of powerful accumulation.
Ceylan…is part of the exclusive circle of global cinematic visionaries….Everything blends into one touching experience.”
-Desson Thomson, WASHINGTON POST

“this visually sumptuous movie …[has a] wonderfully droll sense of humor.”-Mike D’Angelo, TIME OUT NEW YORK

“FOUR STARS! A Chekhovian tale of major artistic power.”
-Michael Wilmington, CHICAGO TRIBUNE

“Grade A. Haunting. Ceylan…frames the affecting, unstudied performances in gorgeously chosen shots…that sometimes teeter on the edge of comedy before knocking us breathless with their emotional power.”
-Lisa Schwarzbaum, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

“Distant gets (and stays) under the skin.”
-Ed Gonzalez, SLANT MAGAZINE

“The first auteur of the 21st century…
Ceylan is out to accumulate the weight of emotion through precision.
And he succeeds in the most masterful way.”
-Mark Peranson, CITY PAGES

“FOUR STARS”
-David Sterritt, THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
“A beautifully made, unapologetically artistic piece of work. Ceylan has an exact sense of what he wants to do and how he wants to do it… Every shot in DISTANT reveals the filmmaker’s impeccable eye for framing and composition. He is a formal director who almost never cuts within a scene, but each image is such a thing of beauty that we are constantly grateful for his taste and discretion.”
— Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“Remarkable! Genuinely beautiful and haunting.”
— Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

“Has strange adhesive powers. As startling as anything Tarkovsky devised…”
— Anthony Lane, The New Yorker



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