Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes, Ceylan’s latest is a strange and hypnotic, slow-paced treatment of a frustrating murder investigation conducted in the dark emptiness of the Anatolian night. This bleakly comic, superbly crafted film marks Turkey’s finest filmmaker’s masterpiece to date.

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) 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.  (New York Film Festival)

Turkey’s official submission to the 84th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. 

Read SFFF Blogger Laura K. Marsh’s review of ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA.

“Murder has become such a fun game in US films that we forget it is really a painstaking, methodical plod through evidence discovery, and often it has little to do with the dead body itself.” Read more…


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Director:Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Screenplay:Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Ebru Ceylan, Ercan Kesal
Year Released:2011
Country:Turkey
Length:150 minutes
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Print courtesy of The Cinema Guild