Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s latest begins as a small caravan of cars snakes its way through the nocturnal countryside, looking for where a murdered man was buried. Yet every time the confessed killer points out the grave, the gravediggers come up empty; much of the landscape looks alike, it’s dark out, and anyway the killer claims he was drunk. As the increasingly frustrating investigation wears on, far more is revealed than where the body is buried; through quick looks, furtive gestures and offhand bits of dialogue, Ceylan (Climates, NYFF '06) reveals in this seemingly pacific Turkish outback a festering world of jealousies and resentments, as the story behind the murder gradually emerges. Impeccably photographed (by Gökhan Tiryaki) and with a stand-out performance by Taner Birsel as a police inspector, this is Ceylan’s most impressive film yet. A Cinema Guild release.

Why you should see Once Upon a Time in Anatolia: NYFF Spotlight.

  • Directed By Nuri Bilge Ceylan
  • 2011
  • Turkey
  • Turkish with English subtitles
  • 157 minutes