Screened as part of NZIFF 2003
“Easily the best film in competition so far has been Uzak, or Distant, written and directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan: a profoundly beautiful and moving meditation on loneliness whose essential seriousness does not preclude some tender comic moments. Muzaffer Özdemir plays Mahmut, a prosperous and successful photographer in Istanbul. Now divorced, he has cultivated fastidious bachelor habits that fall apart when his dopey country cousin Yusuf comes to stay while looking for work.
Calling Uzak an odd-couple comedy does not quite convey the melancholia that drifts through the movie like a cloud, with unapologetically long single takes and wistful silences. But it really is funny, with a humour rooted in compassion for unhappiness, absurdity and the encroachment of old age. There are, hard though it may be to believe, sight gags that are the work of tremendous comic talent.
It is a film of exquisite piquancy: a real masterpiece.” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
“Ceylan is the complete filmmaker. He produced Distant for his own company, wrote the screenplay, was responsible for the beauteous photography and is credited as co-editor. He clearly knows exactly what he wants, and his achievement here is major… The theme of the film is that of the line from the Joni Mitchell song: ‘You don't know what you’ve got till it's gone’, and Ceylan probes that theme with intelligence and gentle precision.” — David Stratton, Variety