The third feature film of leading Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, was his first international success, winning countless awards at festivals around the world, including the Grand Jury Prize and the Best Acting Award at the Cannes Film Festival. A minimalist, intimate and tremendously controlled picture, using an amazing visual language to define each of his two leading characters by their acts and conduct rather than by dialogue, this remains one of the most significant Turkish filmsever made. It is the story of Mahmut, a 40 year old independent photographer, once a country boy who came to Istanbul and made a career for himself there. In an existential crisis after his wife leaves him, he has to host a young relative, Yusuf, who came from the village after a local factory closed down, leaving half of the men there unemployed. Yusuf hopes to get a job on a ship that’s about to sail away, but not yet. There is an abyss separating the two men, one of them middle-aged, introverted, trying desperately to adapt to his new life as a single man, the other, a lonely, eccentric country workman with annoying nervous and hygienic habits, and a sick mother back home he must somehow support. Ceylan is not only responsible for writing and directing the film, shooting it and editing it himself, he also shot the entire picture inside his own Istanbul flat.
Screening attended by the actor: Muzaffer Özdemir
Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey's leading contemporary filmmaker, originally studied electrical engineering. Once graduated, he traveled extensively around the world before he returned to Istanbul and enrolled in the film courses of the Minar Sinan University, while making a living in commercial photography. His first meeting with the Cannes Film Festival was in 1993, when his short film, COCOON, was the first Turkish film to be taken into the festival's competition. His following three feature films, Kasba/The Small Town (1997), Clouds of May (1999) and Distant/Uzak (2002) often referred to as his "country trilogy" were shot with friends, relatives and family as actors, with Ceylan performing just about every technical function himself. He is considered one of the world's most interesting and original filmmakers, with his own distinctive style, contemplative, slow, visually stunning work, praised time and again. His Cannes career is studded with awards. Climates (2006) got the Film Critics prize, Three Monkeys (2008) was awarded the Best Director Prize, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011) won the Grand Jury Prize (his second, following Uzak), while Winter Sleep (2014) was given the Golden Palm. Since 2003, he went back to his early hobby, still photography, and his exhibitions of Turkish images have been praised around the world.