Distant

"OK"

Distant Review


Here's the plotline of the "acclaimed" Turkish film Distant.

Istanbul photographer (Muzaffer Özdemir) lives a dull and boring life, wishing for something to happen. Photographer's distant cousin (Emin Toprak) arrives in town looking for a job and a place to crash. Cousin sleeps at photographer's house, eventually wearing out his welcome. Finally he leaves.

Naturally, we would hope for something to connect these thrilling plot points, but primarily the duo spend their days watching television, driving around, and hunting the mouse that's living in the walls of the house.

Film snobs have embraced Distant as a meditation on life, loneliness, and other simple themes torn from the existential playbook. But writer/director Nuri Bilge Ceylan's point isn't that loneliness can be transcended through friendship or brotherhood -- oh no. Ceylan is content with telling us that loneliness is natural and, depending on your interpretation, preferable to being forced to interact with other people. The horror!

Shot with amateur actors, Ceylan peppers his film with vague attempts at humor and lip service toward character development, but really he's happy to let Özdemir and Toprak be themselves. (As an idea of Ceylan's sense of humor and pacing, the film spends a little over a minute watching Özdemir disinfect his new roommate's smelly shoes.) This is meant to be funny, but it's really more perplexing than amusing, and the whole film comes off as relentlessly padded and droll. He'd love to mimic Antonioni and Ozu, but Ceylan still has much to learn about crafting quiet scenes. Plopping your camera in the living room to witness a long bout of TV-watching simply doesn't compare to Antonioni's immaculately composed city-street tracking shots.

Naturally, this review will anger fans of Ceylan (I presume they must exist), though I can't believe that anyone who enjoyed the lifeless Distant will be able to muster much emotion or ire about anything.

Aka Uzak.



Distant

Facts and Figures

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th December 2002

Distributed by: New Yorker

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 38 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

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