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Grand Theatre Lumiere at the premiere of "Once Upon A Time in Anatolia"


-- "Death of a Samurai", by Takashi Miike (Japan)
-- "Drive", by Nicolas Winding Refn (USA)
-- "Habemus Papam", by Nanni Moretti (Italy)
-- "Hanezu", by Naomi Kawase (Japan)
-- "Footnote", by Joseph Cedar (Israel)
-- "L'apollonide", by Bertrand Bonello (France)
-- "Le Havre", by Aki Kaurismäki (Finland)
-- "Melancholia", by Lars von Trier (Denmark)
-- "Michael", by Markus Schleinzer (Austria)
-- "Once Upon A Time in Anatolia", by Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Turkey)
-- "Pater", by Alain Cavalier (France)
-- "Polisse", by Maïwenn Le Besco (France)
-- "The Kid with a Bike", by Jean-Pierre et Luc Dardenne (Belgium)
-- "Sleeping Beauty", by Julia Leigh (Australia)
-- "The Skin I Live In", by Pedro Almodóvar (Spain)
-- "The Source", by Radu Mihaileanu (Romania)
-- "The Tree of Life", by Terrence Malick (USA)
-- "This Must Be the Place", by Paolo Sorrentino (Italy)
-- "We Need to Talk About Kevin", by Lynne Ramsay (England)
-- "Artist", by Michel Hazanavicius (France)

Press during the festival :

On Friday, the 64th Cannes Film Festival presented a film that grabbed critics and could nab the Palme d'Or on Sunday if the jury rises to the occasion. Both beautiful and beautifully observed, with a delicate touch and flashes of humor and horror, "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia," from the Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, is an ambitious, leisurely inquiry into a specific world — the haunting land of its title — that transcends borders. Touching on life, death and everything in between in 157 minutes, this metaphysical road movie follows a police investigation that, when the story opens, has led its characters into near dark.(...) "Anatolia" is an obvious contender for the Palme, which in recent years has often gone to a selection that plays in the final stretch. That doesn't mean the fix is in, only that the programmers seem to backload potential favorites.(...)
Manohla Dargis, The New York Times, May 21, 2011

(...)Ceylan is a sly and daring screen artist of the highest order and should draw wild praise with this new film for challenging both himself and us, the audience, with this lengthy, rigorous and masterly portrait of a night and day in the life of a murder investigation on his country's Anatolian steppes. 'Once Upon A Time In Anatolia' is a crime movie, but not as you know it, and as well as asking us to puzzle together fragments of a murder case, it also offers rich, and sometimes comic, ruminations on city, small-town and village attitudes, on cynical versus more feeling attitudes to life, on our ability to separate the personal and the professional and on the banalities that arises even in extreme, unusual situations. It might be about a murder, but it's also about the passing of time (and, in a subtly different way, passing the time), and to stress both, Ceylan asks that we share nearly three hours with him and his film.(...)
Dave Calhoun, Time Out (London), May 22, 2011

(...)After the intense dramatic exertions of "Three Monkeys," Ceylan seems to have deliberately moved into less accessible, more oblique territory. The drama unfolding just offscreen is, in fact, as rife with deception, betrayal and violence as that of "Monkeys," but this time the helmer seems to be observing it all from a mournful side angle. Yet despite or perhaps due to its relative lack of incident, "Anatolia" feels like the more mature work, suffused with a wry, tolerant humanity that finds its chief expression in the strong, character-rich performances. As aimless as the men's wanderings feel, there turns out to be nothing arbitrary about the carefully chosen timeframe. From first moment to last, this is a story overshadowed by death, allowing its characters the space in which to reflect on their lives.
Though its glacial pacing will represent a significant hurdle for many viewers, the film grows steadily more involving as dawn breaks and the men make their way back home, and its unflinching observations of the legal and medical establishment at work frequently rivet. Visually, it's as gorgeous a film as Ceylan has made. Tiryaki works a steady stream of miracles in the nighttime passages; rarely have faces been more beautifully illuminated by firelight, in images that have the graceful glow of a Vermeer painting.
Justin Chang, Variety, May 21, 2011

On the Red Carpet at the Cannes premiere of "Once Upon A Time in Anatolia"

Saying this is not everyone's cup of tea, barely begins to describe the uphill battle that will be required in order to market what may arguably be one of the most impressive but also most complex entries this year in Cannes.(...)
For, in Anton Chekhov's spirit, which is hovering all over this picture, it is not to the plot itself one should pay attention, but to the countless, presumably irrelevant details strewn along the way, throwing a light not only on the crime itself and the motives which led to it. In particular the characters who had been gathered for the occasion, each one of them far deeper and more affecting than their banal appearance would seem to indicate.(...)
The outcome is fascinating, not only on a personal level, but also as a profoundly perceptive portrait of the Turkish multi-leveled culture and society. Then there is Ceylan's eye for lighting and framing, whether in still life portraits or nature frescoes, which has been evident all through his earlier films. The structure of his images is no less than striking, his use of the Anatolian landscape, breathtaking with the obscurity reigning over the first half helping to enhance his particular talent for lighting interiors, and even more, human faces.
This is not just consummate cinematography, though of course it is, but the kind of creative, painterly talent echoed in all of Ceylan work as a still photographer. His entire cast blends naturally inside these perfectly limned portraits, most of them are professional actors but look like real people, not stars, though Taner Birsel jokes at one point at his vague resemblance to Clark Gable.(...)
Dan Fainaru, Screen International, 21 may 2011

A slow-burn study of investigatory obsession and police bureaucracy, Nuri Bilge Ceylan's mesmerizing "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia" plays like "Zodiac" meets "Police, Adjective." That's a tough combination to pull off: Neither David Fincher's epic tale of the infamous decade-spanning serial killer hunt nor Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu's minimalist cop drama come with easy answers. But Ceylan has made a similarly analytical brain teaser, rendered in patient and sharply philosophical terms.(...)
Eric Kohn, Indiewire, 22 May 2011

I would have chosen this as the best film of the festival. This is an observational 160 minute film about a group of cops, prosecutors and doctors looking for a body in the Anatolian countryside at night. More or less what you see are these five or six guys going through the night, you learn about their personalities, you watch them stop in a village, you see them bicker, you see them make jokes, you see them give their philosophy of life. In lots of ways, it's procedural in a way of something like The Wire, where you're watching people in action but the characters all gradually reveal themselves to be incredibly vivid. By the end of the film, you have a portrait of the Anatolia region in Turkey where you can't ever tell what's really true. By the end of the movie, you've been told what you think is the truth but there are so many things wrong with how it's been presented, that you're not sure it's really true.
Lewis Numbers, Amplify, 9 June 2011

Photo Call

In the last decade, the Turkish cinema has basked in the light of filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan. With Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, the writer-director confirms his stature in a long, slow, hypnotic film that explores the human condition through side glances and offhand remarks, caring very little about time, especially the viewer's time, in eventless sequences without conventional action.(...)
As in a story by Chekhov, the first half of the film is filled with insignificant conversations that serve to delineate the characters, like the scientific-minded young doctor who's divorced and the hot-headed police chief who has a sick child. As the camera slowly and implacably zooms in on their faces, it seems to reveal their very soul. The chit-chat also abounds with hints which, if the viewer is a good detective, turn out to be highly significant later on.(...)
Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter, 21 May 2011

Nuri Bilge Ceylan has become a name synonymous with the more traditional type of auteur that the Cannes film festival reveres. In his sixth film and also his longest to date (also the longest film playing in competition) Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is a morality tale that reflects the state of mind of the Turkish people. Known for long, steady shots that reveal mystery and beauty similar to the styles of Abbas Kiarostami, even Andrei Tarkovsky, Ceylan has mastered his unique style of Turkish cinema that evokes philosophical questions about life. And while he seemed to have perfected his method with his previous films Uzak and Climates, Ceylan takes a different turn with his latest film. Combining the mystery of a dead body buried in the hills of Anatolia with the spark of an existential journey for its protagonist, the drama mirrors issues the country faces today.(...)
Raffi Asdourian,  The Film Stage, 22 May 2011

The Cannes Film Festival closes tonight, and it has been an especially strong year. Even so, it's taken till this final weekend for critics to start muttering the M-word – "masterpiece". The longest, and arguably the slowest, film in the competition, the Turkish entry Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, is also the most substantial offering here, and a definite front-runner for the Palme d'Or.
The latest from Nuri Bilge Ceylan, the film recounts a shambling police investigation, with the first hour cloaked in darkness and the crime scene reached only 90mins in – raising some sarcastic cheers. But this complex, beautifully crafted film has it all – laced with black humour, it's a character piece, a landscape study, a police procedural thriller and a philosophical contemplation.(...)
Jonathan Romney, The Independent, 22 May 2011

Press Conference

(...)If I were in charge, I think I'd give the prize to Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan's late-screening Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, a hypnotic countryside police procedural I thought was a masterpiece for about an hour and a half, only to be let down by a derivative final hour. Still, 90 minutes of visionary filmmaking—a portrait of the rituals, futility and despair of solving a murder case—are way more than most of this year's films offered.(...)
Ben Kenigsberg, Time Out (Chicago), 21 May 2011

The last Friday evening competition slot in Cannes is a difficult one for journalists, nearly all of whom are in a state of utter exhaustion. But it's thought to be a canny slot from which to influence the jury, who (presumably) are much better rested and in a state of excitement and anticipation about the closing weekend.
Which is both good and bad news for Nuri Bilge Ceylan's super-subtle, ultra-slow-burn of a crime film Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. This somewhat reticent tale requires one's concentrative powers to be at their sharpest as we witness a three-vehicle police team being led through the night by the perpetrators of a murder to locate the corpse they buried somewhere out in the anonymous and hard-to-distinguish rural hills.
A change in style for Ceylan in its seeming reluctance to bait and hook its audience too soon, this is a rumination on investigative storytelling told as if round a campfire. The drama is relayed from character to character – explosive veteran cop to terrified killer, troubled investigator and haunted doctor.
Ceylan saves and delivers his jewel-like surprises with the precision of a Chekov. But whether audiences will stay with this extraordinary tour de force long enough or whether Robert De Niro's jury has the patience to soak in its exquisite details remains to be seen.
Nick James, Sight and Sound, 21 May 2011

Programming a 156-minute slow-burner like Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, from the typically glacially-slow Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan at the end of the festival is like an exercise in cinematic sadism by the Cannes festival programmers. The film had some walk-outs, but Bilge's film is something special. A forensic procedural that plays like a Russian novel within a 12-hour period, filled with revelations, thoughts on adultery and the hope for the future through children. For the first hour-and-a-half of its running time, eveything takes place at night (featuring stunning images captured from car lights and later, lanterns). A convoy of cars, populated by a young doctor named Cemal (Muhammet Uzener), a public prosecutor, a police chief and couple of other cops, along with a pair of confessed murderers, drive around the Anatolian countryside trying to locate where the victim is buried. Eventually, the corpse is located and an autopsy takes place at a local morgue, and along the way, we learn a lot about adultery, the hope for children and the vast spaces that separate people who work side by side.(...)
Liam Lacey, The Globe and Mail, 21 May 2011

Interview for the 'Sight and Sound' magazine

(...)Frankly it's unfair to position such a challenging film as the penultimate film in competition. At the press screening on Friday night, one audience member drew a big laugh applauding when it was announced on screen that the body had - finally - been found. But Ceylan's achievement is considerable, and his cocktail of sadness in the film, embodied particularly in the mournful eyes of the doctor (played by Muhammet Uzuner) packs a powerful punch. Ceylan merely hints at what has happened in the past and never hammers anything home. The reasons for the murder are not elucidated in much detail, likewise the reasons for the melancholy that plagues the doctor and the prosecutor. All we know is that the interaction between men and women is the motive for much of the conflict beneath the surface of this ambitious movie.
Mike Goodridge, Screen International, 21 May 2011

Once Upon a time in Anatolia, the longest, most demanding film of the official selection. Nuri Bilge Ceylan's previous movie was the very accessible, entertaining drama Three Monkeys, but this time around, he returned to his previous style: quiet, bleak, without giving much information. A group of men are driving through the country, looking for a corpse after the murderer has confessed the crime. They can't find the body and while searching, they engage in what appears to be random chatter. They find the body after 90 minutes, and by this point the audience realizes that most of that apparently pointless talk has major significance, not in the crime itself, but in the different lives of all the men involved in the procedure. This is not an easy film, but if watched in the right frame of mind, it is an extraordinary meditation of being a man and a fascinating (if ultra slow) police procedural.
Ed Lucatero, Sound on Sight, 22 May 2011

Turkish writer and director Nuri Bilge Ceylan delivers another stunning film with this existential thriller. A group of law enforcement officers take a criminal to a remote area to locate the body of the victim. Ceylan's assured vision digs beyond the surface of the ordinary police procedure to expose the humanity of its characters. His films are acquired taste but extremely rewarding for those looking for cinema beyond entertainment that addresses the human condition. The talented cast and crew includes Muhammet Uzuner, Yilmaz Erdogan, Taner Birsel as the doctor, detective and prosecutor. Gökhan Tiryaki's cinematography is perfectly in tune with Ceylan's vision.
YRCinema, 1001 Films, May 21, 2011

(...)Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. Nuri Bilge Ceylan's grimy, epic Turkish crime drama screened late to, like The Artist, almost universally good reviews. Might be a good compromise ticket if the jury are split on the Malick or if they fancy looking slightly more arthouse. Caveat: I've not seen it. But Peter Bradshaw loved it.
Catherine Shoard, Guardian, May 22, 2011

TV interview with the actors >>>

(...)So the climax to the contest came in the form of a search for the Truth: namely, a murder investigation, in Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. Of course, it being a film by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, the search ends on a note of skeptical uncertainly – wholly fitting for a competition that included an unusually large number of good or very good films, no outright turkeys, and few real surprises. In short, as I write, anything could win – and I've been to Cannes often enough not to venture overly bold predictions; one never knows what the jurors will like, still less how they'll negotiate with one another (wouldn't you love to be able to listen in on Robert De Niro and Mahamet-Saleh Haroun arguing the toss?). But I can at least proffer my own best-of-the-fest list; they are more or less in order of preference, and the first is the one I'd most like to see win the Palme d'Or: -Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Ceylan) -Footnote (Joseph Cedar) -The Kid with a Bike (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne) -Le Havre (Aki Kaurismäki) -The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius) -The Skin That I Live In (Pedro Almodóvar) -This Must Be the Place (Sorrentino) -The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)
Geoff Andrews, Sight and Sound, May 21, 2011

As I write this, it's early morning on Cannes prize day. For me the rapture has already happened – it was being at this festival in a glorious year. Now, as I'm back at home in London falling asleep, waking and falling asleep again, the one omnipresent thought I have is that it will be a huge injustice today if Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life (pictured) doesn't win the Palme d'Or. I say this not because I think it was the 'best film' – this hymn-like celebration of creation and destruction seems almost allergic to drama as you watch it – but because it was so overwhelmingly the event of the festival.(...)
'Best film': probably Ceylan's Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, but I'd like to see it again before making up my mind.
Nick James, Sight and Sound, May 22, 2011

This almost painfully slow crime procedural from lauded Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan may have been too long for many critics tastes, and indeed at 157 minutes will be a real bum-number for any audience member, but was so delicately put together in terms of performance, direction and - most strikingly - its screenplay that we feel it can't possibly be ignored tomorrow night. Ostensibly the story of the hunt for a corpse, its opening act goes on for almost 90 minutes as two convicts lead three car loads of police plus a doctor, a prosecutor and a couple of soldiers on a merry dance from isolated hill-top to isolated hill-top in search of the spot where they buried the body.
Assembled from Ceylan's trademark long takes and shot in beautifully lit, spectacular compositions, a relationship starts to form between the doctor and the prosecutor as the one tells the other about the sudden and mysterious death of a woman, and while Ceylan drifts in and out of this increasingly personal story we get a staggeringly naturalistic insight into the extraordinary efforts functionaries go to in Turkey to make sure everything seems above-board. Simultanteously he gives us a dreamlike look at the remoteness and beauty of Anatolia - it is a challenging, intelligent film whose impact only increases the more you consider its long-stretches of seemingly banal conversation and even longer-stretches of pointless silence, those random images and lighting shifts such as an apple being carried by a brook or the magical scene in which the daughter of a small village's mayor offers each of the characters a cup of tea and they are each momentarily captured by her candle-lit beauty.
Screenrush, May 21, 2011

Interview with the director Ceylan

Le premier plan est celui d'une vitre sale, filmée du dehors, derrière laquelle devisent des adultes. Dans le dernier, un homme observe un petit garçon de l'intérieur d'un hôpital. Que s'est-il passé entre ces deux images, montées comme l'entrée et la sortie d'un tunnel, prologue funeste et final d'espoir ? Le déroulement de l'un des grands films de ce Festival de Cannes, 2 h 37 magistrales, au cours desquelles ce poète ténébreux qu'est le Turc Nuri Bilge Ceylan illustre ce que veut dire faire du cinéma : sonder la faiblesse des hommes et leurs désirs, évoquer ce qui transparaît d'âme dans leurs silences et ce que leurs obsessions traduisent de soucis quotidiens, communiquer des sensations, coller au temps qui passe, brouiller les notions de documentaire et de fiction.
Il était une fois en Anatolie nous raconte une histoire, avec la densité romanesque d'un Dostoïevski, sa dextérité à mêler les styles (réaliste, tragique, bouffon) et à nourrir l'intrigue de digressions.(...)
Jean-Luc Douin, Le Monde, 21 May 2011

Avec Il était une fois en Anatolie, l'auteur turc Nuri Bilge Ceylan, triplement primé en 2003 avec Uzak, a clos samedi la compétition cannoise par un road-movie nocturne au charme hypnotique. Du grand cinéma, encore.
La compétition s'est achevée sur un songe d'une nuit d'été. Trois hommes discutent et boivent; la caméra va reculer peu à peu, laissant voir cela de l'extérieur, jusqu'à l'incrustation en gros plan du visage de l'un d'entre eux. La séquence suivante est plongée dans une obscurité que nous ne quitterons qu'à la toute fin. Un paysage de collines se découvre à la lumière des phares de voitures qui découpent au loin la route sinueuse. S'il y a relation de cause à effet entre ces deux instants, elle ne relève pas de la chronologie immédiate mais bien plutôt de ce qui, tout au long, va travailler les personnages et le film d'un cinéaste qui a placé à son panthéon Ozu, Tarkovski et Bresson. L'usage du plan fixe, frontal, théâtral, relève d'une conception du cinéma comme capteur d'un temps dilaté à l'extrême pour capter l'espace comme le monde intérieur de chaque être qui s'y meut.(...)
Michel Guilloux, Humanite, 23 May 2011

Deux films qui ont en commun de se présenter comme des contes orientaux, avec des fortunes diverses. Le grand réalisateur turc Nuri Bilge Ceylan prouve une fois encore avec IL ETAIT UNE FOIS EN ANATOLIE qu'il est un immense cinéaste. On pense d'ailleurs beaucoup au réalisateur iranien dans ce film, qui nous emmène pendant 2h30 sur les routes et dans les villages de l'Anatolie, cette région centrale de la Turquie composée de steppes désolées et monotones. On y suit les tribulations d'un procureur, un médecin légiste, une escouade de policiers et deux prisonniers à la recherche du cadavre que ces derniers ont enterré. Sauf que, loin du polar, le film s'intéresse aux à-côtés, ce qui se dit pendant les trajets, pendant les pauses, tous ces moments faibles d'ordinaire évacués au nom de l'efficacité narrative. Et c'est passionnant ! Car si le film est long et lent, il mérite qu'on s'y embarque, ne serait-ce que pour son scénario d'une ampleur romanesque inouïe, même s'il se déroule sur moins de vingt-quatre heures, et qui amène le spectateur à une émotion aussi intense qu'inattendue. Le tout superbement photographié et mis en scène, mais ça, on en a pris l'habitude avec Nuri Bilge Ceylan.
Antoine Guillot, France Culture, 21 May 2011

The team on the red carpet

L'auteur de 'Uzak' et des 'Climats' nous livre son film le plus étrange et peut-être le plus fascinant.(...)
Lors d'une brève halte dans un village, pour reprendre des forces, l'onirisme s'invite dans le film: pendant une panne d'électricité, une jeune fille d'une immense beauté sert le thé, à la lumière d'une lampe à gaz. Tous les hommes sont subjugués par le visage ce cette créature surgie de nulle part. Dans la foulée, le meurtrier présumé croit voir le fantôme de sa victime…
Au petit jour, tout semble s'éclaircir, le retour doit se poursuivre d'un complément d'enquête qui passe par une autopsie. Cependant, cette épopée nocturne aura renvoyé chaque personnage à sa propre énigme, alors que la vie continue. Que l'œuvre soit difficile, et qu'elle demande un certain effort au spectateur, c'est indéniable. Les spectateurs turcs, apparemment, saisiront beaucoup de références à leur pays, ses traditions, sa société, qui échapperont au public occidental (il y a même, dans le dialogue, une savoureuse allusion à l'entrée de la Turquie dans l'Union européenne). Mais cet effort est sans doute le prix à payer pour les fulgurantes beautés et la sombre magie qui enveloppe le film, dont les images nous hanteront longtemps.
NT Binh,, 21 may 2011

Un film long (2h37), très lent (presque en temps réel), avec des personnages assez frustres mais qui vont révéler petit à petit leur humanité. Si bien que ce conte réaliste au cœur de la campagne en Anatolie n’est jamais ennuyeux. Ce film superbement mis en scène souffre malgré tout d’être très mal programmé: c’est le tout dernier de la compétition. C’est pourtant un film marquant, qui se serait bonifié au fil des jours s’il avait été projeté avant.
Stéphane Leblanc,, 21 May 2011

Pari audacieux de la part d'un des grands habitués de la compétition, le réalisateur turc Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Il était une fois en Anatolie (titre ironique) relate une enquête policière rurale dans tous ses pénibles détails, quasiment en temps réel. Un homme a été tué, l'assassin est prisonnier, et l'on recherche le cadavre dans la nuit. On le découvrira, le ramènera à la morgue, puis pratiquera une autopsie pour comprendre comment il a été tué. Mais le médecin ne dira pas toute la vérité.
C'est rigoureusement ce que raconte le film, mais sur un mode aussi simple que sophistiqué : les personnages passent leur temps à soliloquer, à se plaindre de leur vie tout en continuant à travailler, au fond assez indifférents à leur tâche, monopolisés par leurs soucis personnels et surtout sentimentaux… Deux personnages vont se dégager du groupe, qui ont vécu des histoires d'amour douloureuses : le médecin légiste et le procureur.
Ce que montre avec beaucoup d'humour Ceylan, dans une lumière magnifique, c'est l'absurde habitude prises par les hommes de vouloir compartimenter leur vie pour en protéger chacune des parts. La réalité, c'est qu'on est toujours ailleurs tout en étant là, et que nous ne sommes pas des machines. Un film contemplatif, aux beaux longs plans fixes, qui eût mérité d'etre programmé un peu plus tôt dans la compétition…
Jean-Baptiste Morain, Les inRocKs, 22 May 2011

(...)Si les tunnels de dialogue peuvent lasser – surtout dans la première partie du métrage -, impossible de ne pas être béat d'admiration devant la puissance sensorielle de certains plans – un train qui passe au loin, un éclair qui révèle un visage sur une pierre, une pomme qui suit le fil de l'eau, la jeune fille à la lanterne. Déjà primé pour sa mise en scène en 2008 pour «Les trois singes», Nuri Bilge Ceylan confirme qu'il est bien l'un des plus grands stylistes du cinéma contemporain. Le propos reste néanmoins des plus abscons. S'il capte l'inquiétude et l'absurdité du monde et met en scène une Turquie plurielle des steppes au bloc opératoire, il ne donne aucune clé pour comprendre la finalité de l'œuvre ou la psychologie de son personnage principal.
Yannick Vely, Paris Match, 21 May 2011

...Cette errance à la lumière des phares à travers les collines anatoliennes est en soi un grand moment de cinéma. La seconde partie est l'hallucinante séance d'autopsie du cadavre enfin découvert. En réalité, cette dernière n'est que la métaphore de l'autopsie à laquelle se livre le réalisateur depuis le début sur une région, une société et quelques couples (même si à l'écran on voit surtout des hommes). Nous avions abordé les 2 heures 37 minutes de ce dernier film de la compétition avec circonspection. Nous en sommes ressortis enchantés. Enchantés par la leçon de cinéma, mais aussi et peut-être surtout par ce morceau d'humanité où nous avons appris avec le bon docteur Cemal que toute vérité n'est pas bonne à dire.
P.Mottard, Patrick Mottard Blogspot, 21 May 2011

The team on the red carpet with Thierry Fremaux

Il était une fois en Anatolie, le cinéaste turc Nuri Bilge Ceylan confronte son récit policier au temps qui passe et aux paysages arides d'Anatolie. Long, contemplatif, mais sublime.(...)
On comprend bien que l'essentiel ici n'est pas la résolution finale, mais l'avancée progressive du récit et l'importance accordée à la narration. C'est seulement au bout d'1h30 que le cadavre sera retrouvé dans un champ. Les chiens aboient, les rires naissent à l'évocation du nom Clark Gable. Le corps est intransportable. On reste dans le cercle, saisi par ce déplacement progressif du récit. Et si tout ceci n'était qu'un conte ? «Je me souviens d'une nuit qui a commencé comme ça...», entend-on alors.
Et pendant ce temps, Nuri Bilge Ceylan filme les phares des voitures avançant dans la steppe anatolienne... La longue route se dessine, presque sans fin. On s'interroge sur la teneur d'un tel récit. Et puis, on se laisse happer par l'échange qui naît entre ces deux hommes, enfermés dans une société archaïque, qui avance doucement...
S.Ferdinand,, 22 May 2011

(...)Anadolu'nun bağrında yaşanan yaman bir gece bu... Başını bölge savcısı, görevli doktor, öfkeli bir komiser ve katil kardeşlerin çektiği grup, orada yalnızca 'domuzbağı' ile bağlanıp gömülmüş zavallı bir insanı değil, bu ülkenin kimi insan gerçeklerini de arıyorlar. Ama bu, aynı zamanda evrensel insan gerçekliğine doğru bir yolculuğa ulaşıyor. İnsanı insan yapan birçok şeyin, bir gece boyunca usul usul örülerek bir büyük tabloya dönüşmesi olayı.(...)
Ayrıca kimilerinin bilinen bıyıkları kesilerek ya da bilinmeyen bıyıklar eklenerek geçirdikleri 'fiziksel müdahele'nin de katkısıyla adeta tanınması zor biçimde karşımıza gelen Yılmaz Erdoğan, Taner Birsel, Ercan Kesal, Fırat Tanış, Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan gibilerinin ve de yeni Ceylan oyuncusu Muhammed Uzuner'in görkemli oyunlarına da şapka çıkarmak isterim. Hoşgeldin, yeni Nuri Bilge filmi. Umarım ve beklerim ki bu akşam açıklanacak ödüllerde yerin olsun...
Atilla Dorsay, Sabah Gazetesi, 21 Mayıs 2011

(...)64. Cannes Festivali'nde önceki gün gösterilen iki filmin ardından gözler jüriye çevrildi. Bu gece Palmiyeler sahiplerini bulacak. Öncelikle şunu söylemeliyim, uzun yıllardır ilk kez tahmin yürütmek bu kadar zor. Bunun nedeni, yarışma programına seçilen filmlerin düzeyinin oldukça yüksek olması. Bütün filmleri izledikten sonra, ödül listesine girebilecek en az 7-8 film üzerinde konuşuyoruz. Oysa, geçen yıllarda en çok 3 filmin adı geçerdi tahmin listelerinde.
Dünkü yazımızda adını andığım filmler arasına, Nuri Bilge Ceylan'ın filmi de katıldı, önceki günkü basın gösteriminden sonra. Ama, bu yıl yarışan pek çok film gibi bu film de, eleştirmenleri böldü. Bir kısmı, Altın Palmiye'yi hak eden bir film olduğunu düşünürken, diğerleri filmi fazla uzun buluyor ve anlatmak istediklerini tam anlatamadığını düşünüyor. Bu işin bir de kumarı olduğunu öğrendik bu yıl. Altın Palmiye'yi kim alır diye bir bahis var ve "Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da" dünden itibaren birinci sırada yer alıyor. Arkasından da Michael Hazanavicius'un "The Artist"i geliyor. Bize göre de, Ceylan'ın son yapıtı, ilk üçe rahatlıkla girebilecek yetkinlikte.
Tabii, ödül tahminlerinde bulunurken Cannes jürisini iyi analiz etmek lazım. Bu filmler arasında, hangi jürinin önüne koyarsanız koyun, sonuç değişmez diyeceğimiz bir film yok. Farklı jürilerin farklı sonuçlara varacağına eminim. Jüri kompozisyonu, ilk bakışta Ceylan sinemasına hayranlık duyacak bir kompozisyon gibi görünmüyor. Fransız yönetmen Olivier Assayas'ın, Norveçli yazar Linn Ullman'ın, Çad'lı yönetmen Mahamat Saleh Haroun'un ve Arjantinli oyuncu Martina Gusman'ın -yaptıkları filmleri göz önüne alarak- Ceylan'ın sinemasını yadırgamayacağını söyleyebiliriz. Ama Jude Law', Nansun Shi, Johnie To, Uma Thurman ve Başkan Robert de Niro'nun tercihlerinin nereye yöneleceğini tahmin etmek zor. "Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da", festivalde gösterilen filmlerin belki en zor olanı. İki buçuk saatlik bir sürede, çok az olay var. Film, bir günbatımında başlayıp, ertesi sabah bitiyor. Bu süre içinde, bir cinayet parantezinde Anadolu'nun bir kasabasının ve o kasabada 'konuk' olan resmi görevlilerin ruh halini anlatıyor Ceylan. Katil zanlısı başta olmak üzere, filmin kahramanlarının dünyalarını keşfetmek için fazla bir ipucu yok. Bu kasaba 'otopsisi'nde, Çehov'u, Yakup Kadri'nin "Yaban"ını anımsatan bir merkez-çevre çatışmasının ipuçlarını bulmak olası. Bozkırın ortasında, hiçbir şeyin olmadığı, ama hep bir şeylerin olmasının beklendiği o korkunç sessizliği ve o sessizliğin kararttığı ruhları duyumsatan bir sinema bu.(...)
Vecdi Sayar, Milliyet Gazetesi, 24 Mayıs 2011

On the Red Carpet

Günlerdir Nuri Bilge Ceylan'ın "Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da" filmini heyecanla bekledik. Ceylan'ın Cannes'a seçilen dördüncü filmine girerken, içimizde hep aynı soru: "acaba bu sefer de tutturabilmiş mi?". Hani kardeşinizin piyesine gidersiniz, sahneye çıkmadan önce içinizde bir huzursuzluk, "ya iyi olmamışsa?" tedirginliği... Ceylan'ın filmleri öncesi hissettiklerimiz aynen bu örneğe benziyor. Ama her seferinde bir kez daha şaşırtıp, sevindiriyor bizi. "Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da" Ceylan'ın belki de en farklı filmi. Öncelikle hemen belirtelim, alıştığımız uzun sessizliklerin yerini, doğallığı parmak ısırtacak diyaloglar almış. Evet, film biraz uzun (2 saat 37 dakika) ama biz nefesimizi tutarak ve gözümüzü kırpmadan izledik. Benzer duyguyu en son "başeser" nitelediğimiz Haneke'nin "Beyaz Kurdele"sinde hissetmiştik. Eşi Ebru Ceylan ve baş "ortağı" Ercan Kesal'la birlikte yazdıkları senaryo öylesine başarılı ki, polis komiserini canlandıran Yılmaz Erdoğan, Cumhuriyet savcısını Taner Birsel ve Doktor Cemal'i oynayan Muhammet Uzuner gerçek yaşamlarından kopup ekrana yerleşmiş gibiler. Ceylan'ın günümüzün en iyi yönetmenlerinden oyuncularından çıkarttığı performans ve sahnelerin ve görüntünün ardarda büyüleyici şekilde sıralanmasıyla bir kez daha ispat ediyor. Ceylan gerçekten bir görüntü sihirbazı ve bu hüneri aklıyla birleşince karşımıza böylesi büyük filmler çıkıyor. Filmde birçok insan hikâyesi örtüşüyor. Doktorun yalnızlığı ve pragmatik görünümünün ardındaki duygusallık, savcının karısını hiç tanımadığını anlamasıyla içine düştüğü suçluluk çukuru, polis komiserinin iş ve aile içi çıkmazları ön planda yer alan öyküler. Aslında sinema izleyicilerine en itici gelecek ögeleri birleştiren ana konu, bir gece yarısı iki katil zanlısının polis, savcı, adli tıp doktoru, jandarma temsilcileriyle birlikte olay yeri araştırması yapılması. Ceylan devlet denen girift ve acımasız "makineyi" öylesine güzel çizmiş ki, "film noir" türünün belki de en başarılı örneklerinden birini çıkartmış. Cinayet mahalinin belirlenmesi sahnesi gece çekilmiş ve bir buçuk saat sürüyor. "Şehirli-taşralı" ayrımını komplekssiz ve dürüstçe yerleştiren Ceylan'ın filminin bizce yabancı izleyici ve eleştirmenler için en zor tarafı, konuşmaların, içeriğin belki de Ceylan sinemasında ilk kez bu denli Türkiyeli ögelerle bezenmiş olması (bu nedenle belki Türkiye'de en iyi iş yapan Ceylan filmi olabilir?). Bu nedenle de bizleri iki buçuk saat boyunca tatlı/acı güldüren filmin her ayrıntısını basın gösterimindeki diğer sinema yazarları bizim kadar anlamamış olabilirler.(...)
Defne Gürsoy, Birgün Gazetesi, 22 Mayıs 2011

Ve geldik son iki filme. Deyim yerindeyse, İngilizce ve Fransızcadan dilimize serbest uyarlayabileceğimiz mahur güne. Cuma ve Cumartesi G Günüydü bizler için. Nihayet Nuri Bilge Ceylan'ın Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da'sını görebilecektik.(...) Dünya markası Nuri Bilge Ceylan'ın her filminin Cannes'da bir olay olduğu artık bilinen bir gerçek. Tüm meslek erbabı neredeyse bizim heyecanımızla Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da'yı bekliyordu. Orta Anadolu'nun küçük bir kentinde işlenen cinayetin yer tespiti için katil eşliğinde üç arabalı (savcı, doktor, polis ve jandarma) bir ekip sabaha kadar maktulün gömüldüğü yeri ararlar. Ancak iş cesedi bulmakla bitmemektedir. Katil, komiser, doktor ve savcı etrafında yaratılan "mikrokozmoz/küçük evren" yalnızca o insanların ailesi, yakınları ve sevdikleriyle sınırlı değildi. Ceylan ilk kez bu denli incelik ve derinlikle kendi "yalnız ve güzel" toplumundan bir kesit yansıtıyordu. Başta Taner Birsel, Muhammet Uzuner, Yılmaz Erdoğan, Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan, Fırat Tanış ve Ersan Kesal olmak üzere bütün oyuncular (hele hele otopsi yapan memur) tek kelimeyle "olağanüstü bir performans" sergiliyorlardı. Salondan çıkar çıkmaz 10 kadar Fransız, Arap, İsrailli, Kanadalı meslektaşımızın görüşüne başvurduk. Arap ve İsrailli arkadaşlar filmi "başeser" nitelediler. NB Ceylan'ın "en diyaloglu, konuşmalı" senaryosu nitelediğimiz eserin çok yetersiz (bir anlamda imkânsız) çevirisine rağmen Doğulu duyarlılıklarından ötürü büyük oranda ayrıntıları yakalamışlardı. Batılı arkadaşlarımızsa nüansları kaçırmanın da verdiği bir tatminsizlikle film içindeki bazı hikâyelerin yarım veya boşlukta kaldığını, senaryodan iki film çıkabileceğini, filmin özellikle ilk 30-40 dakikalık kısmını biraz uzun bulduklarını, ancak Fransızca deyişiyle NBC imzasının tüm özgünlüğünü ve yaratıcılığını koruduğunun altını çizdiler. Herkes filmin sanatçının, toplumsal boyutu en zengin filmi olduğu, fakat estetik ve teknik ilke tavırlarından hiç taviz vermediğini kaydettiler. NBC'nin arayan, araştıran kişiliğini, isteyerek veya istemeyerek yeni bir stil denediğini kaydettiler. Şimdi sıra jüride… Bakalım son Ceylan eserinin mesajını ne kadar yakalayacak ve paylaşacaklar?
Uğur Hüküm,, 22 Mayis 2011

The Jury

Ceylan shared the festival's Grand Prix with Dardenne brothers

Ceylan dedicated the prize to his actors

(...)The Dardennes shared the festival's Grand Prix (its second prize) with Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan for his sixth film, 'Once Upon a Time in Anatolia'. The title hints at a new interest in storytelling and words for Ceylan after the often-silent observations of his previous films. But this portrait of a night and day in the life of a murder investigation in rural Turkey is crafty, rigorous filmmaking that demands we keep our eyes and ears open. Slowly its ensemble approach narrows our interest to one or two characters whose lives are illuminated by the job in hand. There's horror and comedy alongside staggering imagery. Ceylan invites us along for a long ride, and if we're up for it, it's rewarding. It was the best film in a competition of so many strong films.(...)
Dave Calhoun, Time Out (London), 23 May 2011

It wouldn't have been my choice, but I can't really argue with the Cannes jury's decision to award the Palme d'Or to Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life. I found its overarching cosmic aspirations indigestible – the film felt like an attempt to refit the Sublime for the IMAX era – but Malick was undeniably determined to challenge narrative cinema's traditional limitations.
The film that I hoped would win outright was Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Once upon a Time in Anatolia. The director of such spare and suggestive movies as Uzak and Climates, Ceylan has come of age as a heavyweight auteur: his film was by far the most serious in competition, and the one that made most demands on the viewer's intelligence. Sometimes gruelling, this long, sober film follows a police inquiry, though we don't find out what's being investigated until the crime scene is reached some 90 minutes in – after a long nocturnal section in which officers, a prosecutor and a doctor drive around the countryside in thick darkness.(...)
Jonathan Romney, London Review of Books, 23 May 2011

(...)It was great to see an award for the Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan's stunning, disturbing Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, his beautifully photographed crime drama about police and prosecutors grimly locating a buried body through one long night. As the corpse is exhumed, many long-buried thoughts and fears are disinterred in the minds of the hard-bitten lawmen. It is a brilliant, masterly film with a distinctive force and artistic gravitas. This, too, could quite easily have won the Palme D'Or: I think it is Ceylan's best yet.(...)
Peter Bradshaw, Guardian, 22 May 2011

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan — "I would have chosen [this] as the best film of the festival. ... This is an observational 160 minute film about a group of cops, prosecutors and doctors looking for a body in the Anatolian countryside at night. More or less what you see are these five or six guys going through the night, you learn about their personalities, you watch them stop in a village, you see them bicker, you see them make jokes, you see them give their philosophy of life. In lots of ways, it's procedural in a way of something like The Wire, where you're watching people in action but the characters all gradually reveal themselves to be incredibly vivid. ... By the end of the film, you have a portrait of the Anatolia region in Turkey where you can't ever tell what's really true. By the end of the movie, you've been told what you think is the truth but there are so many things wrong with how it's been presented, that you're not sure it's really true."
John Powers, NPR, 25 May 2011

(...)Along with other works honoured the other day, Le Gamin Au Vélo by the Dardenne brothers and Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (an almost platonically perfect Cannes title), it asserts the dignity of cinema against the vulgarities of the movies. Cannes, it should never be forgotten, is a resistance movement. It might be a marketplace itself, a place where deals are done and contracts signed. But it is also the headquarters of a rebel alliance, dedicated to the idea that films should be difficult, inexplicable, overreaching and occasionally trying to the patience.(...)
Thomas Sutcliffe, The Independent, 24 May 2011

Grand Prix winner in Photocall session after the closing ceremony

A trio of yellow car headlights wind through the dark, shadowy steppes in the gorgeous opening shot of Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Once Upon A Time in Anatolia. When they come to stop at a well, a cadre of bumbling police officers pile out in the dim light, Keystone Cops as they might have been painted by an old master. When a handcuffed vulpine prisoner determines that this isn't the location they're looking for–the right place is marked by a "round" tree–they pile back into the cars and try another spot, and then another. When they eventually find the location they so arduously seek, the site of a grisly burial becomes a revelation. The film's widescreen compositions are simultaneously restrained and arresting, and it's easy to get lost in their stark beauty. Ceylan's leisurely, grim police procedural was slotted on the last day of the festival, so that Cannes attendees who wanted a chance to see the much-anticipated feature were obliged to stay until the very end. Over at least one dinner table that night, however, this Turkish delight, with its muted palette and complicated vision of fairness, was declared the film of the festival. In Anatolia, as in many of the most intriguing films at this year's Cannes Film Festival, justice was in the eyes of the beholders.
Livia Bloom, The Filmmaker magazine, 31 May 2011

The festival's second prize, the Grand Prix, was split between two films, 'The Kid With a Bike' by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne and 'Once Upon A Time in Anatolia' by Nuri Bilge Ceylan. The first is a typically economic and wise fable about a troubled young child in working-class Belgium. The second is an epic and rigorous sideways portrait of a night and day in a murder investigation. 'Once Upon a Time in Anatolia' takes the films of Ceylan somewhere new. For me, it was the only masterpiece in the Cannes competition – and that's in a year of very strong films all round... Palme d'Or Winner: 'The Tree of Life' (Terrence Malick). Should have won: 'Once Upon A Time in Anatolia' (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
Dave Calhoun, Time out (London), 23 May 2011

The last day screening of Nuri Bilge Ceylan's ruminative, challenging Once Upon a Time in Anatolia strengthened an exceptionally ambitious and coherent competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival.(...) Once Upon a Time in Anatolia has Turkey's finest filmmaker rebounding from the arty mediocrity of his previous Three Monkeys (2006) to confirm his international status with an impressive, bleakly comic epistemological treatment of a police investigation conducted in the dark emptiness of the Anatolian night.(...) Anatolia included my favorite shot of the festival: An apple falls from a tree, rolls down a hill, plops into a stream and is carried off by the current, until it's not.
John Hoberman, Village Voice, 24 May 2011

Two films from previously lauded Cannes auteurs split the Grand Prix citation: The gorgeous, novelistic "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia" from Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, and "The Kid With a Bike," from the Belgian filmmakers and brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. These were two critical favorites.
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, 22 May 2011

(...) I was particularly pleased to see Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Once Upon a Time in Anatolia share the Grand Prix. The film arrived late and duly confirmed that the Turkish director has one of the most singular voices in world cinema.
Donald Clarke, Irish Times, 23 May 2011

Ceylan shared the festival's Grand Prix with Dardenne brothers

Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Once Upon a Time in Anatolia leaves a lot unsaid, literally. For most of the film, which is more than two and a half hours long, a prosecutor, doctor, suspects, and cops are driving around in rural Anatolia, all looking for a corpse. We follow them in a car, from one hill to another, to yet another false burial site, always seated the same order in the car, with the suspects in the back and the prosecutor, Nusret (Taner Birsel), in charge. The film, co-winner of this year's Grand Prix at Cannes, effectively conveys the monotonous search, the uniform Anatolian landscape, and the interminable journey.
In Ceylan's previous film, Three Monkeys, a family fell apart in silence. Here, too, a sense of despair slowly creeps in without anyone having to declare it. At one point, the group is stranded in a small village. The lights go out and they sit in the dark, while the mayor's daughter serves them drinks. Her youth and beauty become another cause for despondency: she will likely fade into obscurity in this forsaken place. Only a few moments of levity punctuate this hopelessness, as when Nusret likens the victim to Clark Gable in the official report, and claims he looks like Gable himself. Or when it turns out the cops have forgotten to bring a body bag, and have to hog-tie the corpse to fit it in the car.
The glacial pace and the long pauses, which prompted some spectators to check their watches, are indispensable for building Once Upon a Time's somber mood. Slowly, in a few brief conversations taking place almost half an hour apart from one another, two story arcs emerge. The suspect, Kenan (Firat Tanis), tearfully asks the cop, Commissar Naci (Yilmaz Erdogan), to take care of his child. Nusret recalls a woman who knew she would die after giving birth to her baby; the doctor, Cemal (Muhammet Uzuner), suspects suicide. By the time the film is over, these personal stories become more heartbreaking than the benighted environment in which they took place.
Elena Razlogova, PopMatters, 26 May 2011

(...) I have slightly more mixed feelings about the Grand Prix (or second prize), which was shared between the Dardennes' typically fine (but somewhat familiar) The Kid With a Bike and Nuri Bilge Ceylan's epic butt-number Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. The latter is an intelligent, meticulous, incredibly beautiful movie that's offered plenty of food for thought since I saw it, but that I found downright torturous to actually sit through. Mostly, that's because Ceylan is playing a deliberate, formalist game of keep-away, introducing what looks on the surface like an exciting narrative—the film opens at night, with a bunch of cops and other officials toting two criminals around gorgeously barren landscapes in search of a corpse—only to slow the "action" to a crawl (it takes 90 minutes of this two-and-a-half hour movie just for them to find the body) and focus our attention on bureaucratic trivia and raw bits of the characters' psyches. Ceylan knows precisely what he's doing—a lengthy shot of an apple tumbling downhill into a stream, merely to come to rest beside other rotted apples, all but chides us for seeking direct answers—and he uses car headlights the way Kubrick used candles in Barry Lyndon, but I still had enormous trouble staying alert amidst the endless trudging and sniping and sharing of seemingly random anecdotes. But I saw it late at night, after more than a week spent gorging on cinema, so I don't really trust my negative reaction, and the jury's high esteem further suggests that I might want to take a second look in future.
Mike D'Angelo, AV Club, May 22, 2011

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is the kind of film that thrives at Cannes. A long, slow-burning account of the search for a missing corpse, reports from the Croisette are that audiences broke into nervous laughter 90 minutes into the 150-minute film when they realized they'd just witnessed the movie's first plot point. Still, critics were won over by the Turkish film, which shared the festival's Grand Prix prize with The Kid With a Bike. The question remains whether Anatolia will be one of those Cannes hits that's too philosophical and obscure to gain traction, or if its festival success will launch a foreign awards campaign.
Conghan, My Blog Voice, May 26, 2011

(...)The runner-up Grand Jury prize was shared between Le Gamin au vélo and Once Upon a Time in Anatolia from Turkey's Nuri Bilge Ceylan. The second film was a brave choice. Did jury president Robert De Niro find a calling echo in the title, so like his and Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America? Or did the jury recognise the dark purpose and clever design in a 2½-hour "police procedural" that ranges across a provincial landscape, laying open not just a murder but a society?
Nigel Andrews, The Financial Times, May 23, 2011

(...)In an unusually bounteous year for quality films, the jury's choice of two films to share the Grand Prize was understandable. Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Once Upon a Time in Anatolia spent most of its first ninety minutes in the dark as three vehicles (two police cars and a jeep) meandered along country roads in search of a dead body. Mesmerizing footage of headlights in long shot alternated with the frustration of the confessed killer's inability to locate the corpse. At each stop, seemingly inconsequential banter between the prosecutor, the police commissar and the doctor turn out to be loaded with clues that pay off later on.
Surely the artiest police procedural ever made (Ceylan's photographic eye has never been better), Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is also an understated character study (of the doctor, in particular) and serious commentary on the various strata in Turkish society. It is a film that will benefit from a second viewing.
"There were two major films, both of them deserved to be right at the top," French director/jury member Olivier Assayas commented, responding to a question about the shared Grand Prize. "It's wonderful that the selection was such that there were films at this high level, so it is our duty to fight for such films."(...)
Paul Ennis, Bloor Cinema, May 23, 2011

At the Turkish party after the award ceremony

Cannes Film Festivali'nin ödül töreninde Robert De Niro, Grand Prix sahiplerinin 'Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da' ve Dardenne Biraderler'in 'Le Gamin au Velo'su olduğunu duyurunca önce basının töreni izlediği Debussy salonunda Türkiyeli ekip arasında heyecan yaşandı, sonrasında da Türk standında verilen, 'Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da ekibinin de katıldığı partide… Film ekibinin alkışlarla karşılandığı, eğlenceli gecede sorularımızı yanıtlayan, filmin savcısı rolündeki Taner Birsel, "Sinema biraz deli işi, 67 gün -27 derecelere varan soğuklarda delice işler yapıyorsun. Sonra gidip smokinler içinde çok gösterişli salonlarda onurlandırılıyorsun. Bu tezat bile insanın duygularını oradan alıp bambaşka yerlere götürüyor" diyerek durumu özetledi. Daha önce Zeki Demirkubuz'un 'Belirli Bir Bakış' bölümünde gösterilen 'İtiraf'ıyla da Cannes'a gelen oyuncu "Soğukta donmuş ayak, kulaklarınla saatlerce beklediğin o bozkırda bu anı mesela düşünmüyorsun. Yaptığın yolculuk iki yıl sonra birden burada infilak ediyor" diyor ve 'Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da'nın heyecanını "Filmin önemli bir parçası olduğumuz çok hissettirildi bize Nuri tarafından" diye açıklıyor: "Masterpiece denen bir filme katkıda bulunmak bana yetti. Ödül bunun üzerine bonus gibi geldi."(...)
Erman Ata Uncu, Radikal Gazetesi, 24 May 2011

Nuri Bilge Ceylan'ın "Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da" filminin aldığı Jüri Büyük Ödülü, gerek festival izleyicileri, gerekse eleştirmenlerin farklı tepkileriyle karşılaştı. Filmi, bir başyapıt olarak görenler, hatta Altın Palmiye'yi hak ettiğini düşünenler olduğu gibi, beklentileri karşılamayan bir film olduğunu savunanlar da var. Dünkü Le Monde'da çıkan Jean-Luc Douin'in eleştirisi, filmi "büyük bir yapıt" olarak nitelendirerek, Dostoyevski'nin romanesk yoğunluğuna sahip olduğunu, farklı türleri (realist, trajik, komik) mükemmel bir senteze kavuşturduğunu söylüyor. Filmin, Raymond Depardon'un, Frederick Wiseman'ın belgesellerindeki polisiye öykülerin, Romen yönetmen Cristi Piu'nun İstanbul Film Festivali'nde de gösterilen "Dante Lazerescu'nun Ölümü"ndeki hastane sahnelerinin gerçekçiliğine sahip olduğunu belirten eleştirmen, Ceylan'ı Türklerin 'Simenon'u olarak nitelendirmekle kalmıyor, görüntülerin mükemmelliğini La Tour ve Vermeer'in tablolarıyla kıyaslıyor.(...)
Vecdi Sayar, Milliyet Gazetesi, 24 Mayıs 2011

Dün gazetelerimizin büyüterek verdiği iki haber vardı. Biri sevinç ve gurur vesilesi: Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Cannes Film Festivali'nde bir kere daha ödüllendirildi: «Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da» adlı son eseri, Jüri Büyük Ödülü'ne layık görüldü. Radikal haberi başlığıyla yan yana vermekle kalmamış, hâdiseye bol resimli üç de tam sayfa ayırmıştı. Benim için de sıradan bir mutluluk değil bu. Ceylan sinemasını sevenlerdenim. Kıymetini bilip Nuri Bilge Ceylan'ı baş tacı ederler mi? Onu hoş tutuyorlar galiba. Orhan Pamuk, Fazıl Say, Kemal Derviş, Sertab Erener gibi dünya çapında tanınmış Türklerden pek hazzetmeyen hodperestân fasilesi (kendinden gayrını beğenemeyenler takımı) ona nasıl muamele eder bilemem. Dediğim gibi galiba pek gıcık kapmıyorlar ondan.(...)
Hakkı Devrim, Radikal Gazetesi, 24 Mayıs 2011

Procédé inverse, enfin, dans Il était une fois en Anatolie, plongée bavarde au sein des institutions de cette province turque reculée, qu'incarne une troupe saugrenue (procureur, commissaire, médecin, maire, sergent, suspect…) partis à la recherche d'un cadavre élusif. Lorsque, à la fin d'un repas ou d'une autopsie, le flot des conversations se tarit, le silence recouvre le film d'une beauté sibylline et insondable, laissant, par un poignant effet de contraste, le spectateur sans voix.
Aureliano Tonet,, 23 May 2011

(...)Il était une fois en Anatolie est la radicale et audacieuse réinvention d'un réalisateur. En effet, loin de l'univers « turc » de ses derniers films, Ceylan se rapproche beaucoup, dans le style, de réalisateurs comme Belà Tarr ou même Andrei Tarkovski. L'égarement, la dissimulation, l'hypocrisie, l'insondable question du « moi » ancré dans le temps et l'incompréhension de la mort : tels sont en partie les thèmes traités dans ce film qui va sonder toute la misère mais également tout le comique de l'existence humaine. A travers ces paysages anatoliens, lieu où se sont déjà égarés les esprits de nombreux artistes, le réalisateur nous propose une histoire minimaliste, abstraite et chronologiquement répartie sur seulement un jour et demi.
Entre nuit et jour, lumière et ombre, Il était une fois en Anatolie est un film riche et esthétiquement, parfaitement réussi. Il est néanmoins impossible de se faire une idée définitive d'une œuvre aussi complexe et profonde en un seul visionnage. Nuri Bilge Ceylan prouve donc qu'il maîtrise parfaitement son art et aussi, par ce film, qu'il est l'un des meilleurs réalisateurs actuels. Tout au long de ce voyage, on se questionne, on veut savoir pourquoi, on est engagés. Il était une fois en Anatolie est une œuvre qui, malgré plus de 200 minutes d'une pellicule lente, obscure, lourde de sens et exigeante, réussit à tenir en haleine son spectateur qui sortira de la salle en ayant vécu une expérience ultime.
Rémy Bastrios, Critique Ouverte, 25 May 2011

At the Official Dinner after the Closing Ceremony

Screendaily at Cannes - The ratings of the international critics for the films in competition