Screened as part of NZIFF 2011

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia 2011

Bir zamanlar Anadolu’da

Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Four-time Cannes laureate Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Uzak) took this year’s Grand Prix for this beautiful, deliberative criminal investigation/road movie. “A mature, philosophically resonant work from Turkey's leading director.” — The Globe and Mail

Turkey In Turkish with English subtitles
150 minutes CinemaScope


Zeynep Özbatur Atakan


Ercan Kesal
Ebru Ceylan
Nuri Bilge Ceylan


Gökhan Tiryaki


Bora Gökşingöl
Nuri Bilge Ceylan


Muhammet Uzuner (Dr Cemal)
Yilmaz Erdoğan (commissar Naci)
Taner Birsel (prosecutor Nusret)
Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan (driver Arab Ali)
Firat Taniş (suspect Kenan)
Ercan Kesal (Mukhtar)
Erol Eraslan (murder victim Yaşar)
Uğur Arslanoğlu (courthouse driver Tevfik)
Murat Kiliç (police officer İzzet)
Şafak Karali (courthouse clerk Abidin)
Emre Şen (Sgt Önder)


Cannes (In Competition) 2011


Grand Prix, Cannes Film Festival 2011


Moving literally from darkness into light, this latest Cannes winner from fourtime Cannes laureate Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Uzak, NZIFF03) should engross and reward all who submit to its placid pace and steady accumulation of vivid detail. — BG

“Both beautiful and beautifully observed, with a delicate touch and flashes of humor and horror, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia 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 150 minutes, this metaphysical road movie follows a police investigation that, when the story opens, has led its characters into near dark. In time, the light creeps in as one mystery is solved while another remains open… First, though, a group of men – including a local investigator, his subordinate, a prosecutor, a doctor and an accused murderer – will drive around the countryside looking for a buried corpse that, for much of the movie, remains undiscovered if not always unseen. If that makes Once Upon a Time in Anatolia sound like a ghost story, it is, though what haunts this handful of men is less the dead than the lives… that have brought them to the long, undulating road that echoes the movie’s design.” — Manohla Dargis, NY Times

“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 Chekhov.” — Nick James, Sight & Sound