Once Upon A Time In Anatolia

Although I’m loath to reduce this masterful sixth feature from Turkey’s Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Three Monkeys) to a trite ‘it’s X meets Y’ comparison, in this instance, I’ll relent: imagine Cormac McCarthy transplanted to the Anatolian steppe with the self-professed ‘time sculptor’, the late Andrei Tarkovsky, calling the shots.

Interest piqued? It should be.

Giving credence to the adage that still waters run deep, this enigmatic reworking of the police procedural unfolds in lengthy takes and at largo pace, offsetting the indifferent Anatolian hills with the hangdog expressions of the somnolent men who comb them for answers.

Possessed of a dirt-dry gallows humour and impeccably framed in widescreen that alternately yawns and corrals, it’s not overstating things to say this carries the indelible tenor of a classic-in-waiting. Truly a film of the year.


Gerard Elson works as a bookseller at Readings St Kilda.