Film Review Of ‘Once Upon A Time In Anatolia’

‘Once Upon A Time In Anatolia’ by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, is a Turkish film of deep meanings where dialogues reveal as much as they conceal. Indeed this is as much true of the plot which is about a murder in rural Anatolia. It very well might have been an actual incident as it has all the hallmarks of realism.

However as substantial as the plot is the background and the interplay between characters involved in investigating the murder which forms the focus and context of this film. The character cast is restricted involving as it does primarily the police, a public prosecutor, a prisoner and a doctor accompanying them in trying to find out the actual place of occurrence of the murder which forms the opening scene of the film.

This doctor is mercurial and we suspect he is also disturbed. He however shows an empathy towards the alleged perpetrator of the murder accompanying him and the police in attempting to locate the victim’s corpse; an empathy which is totally lacking from the police who are brusque and intimidatory.

Apart from this there are certain other interesting perspectives which come out in the film such as that “behind every problem is a woman” which chimes interestingly with a comment by somebody I know who said recently that “women represent bad news.” In that context the doctor narrates to a public prosecutor in a dialogue that a woman predicted the day of her death exactly in advance. All this is not to be of course taken out of context to indicate I’m gender biased but helps in putting ‘Once Upon A Time In Anatolia’ in a certain context. In this regard its main focus is on violence and masculinity, where women are placed in ambiguous positions as they are both primary as well as secondary to the plot.

The particular dialogue and the doctor are relevant as apparently he covers up certain facts of the murder victim’s autopsy and we are left wondering why or if indeed if he has some involvement in the actual offence. This is all the more relevant as its revealed that the alleged perpetrator is covering up for somebody else and naturally this is quite curious.

Apart from all this, in the context of the murder a perspective is given of Turkey beyond the gloss of its urban centres; a facet which a casual visitor to that country or foreigners residing there may not normally come across. At the same time this is a visual production which deviates from mainstream cinematic traditions with added authenticity as the dialogues are in Turkish with English subtitles; naturally therefore knowing Turkish would enhance a potential viewer’s appreciation of this film considering that the duration of the film is close to two and a half hours.

The leading figures in this drama include Nusret (Taner Birsel), commissar Naci (Yilmax Erdogan) and Dr. Cemal (Muhammet Uzuner) together with a prisoner, Kenan (Firat Tanis). This film won a Grand Prix award for its producer. Apart from that as the Guardian has noted its one of those films where nothing seems to be happening but everything is, which is no mean achievement. There are of course many more details to this production than described here but then the idea is not to reveal everything; as is the case with the film itself,

Film Review – Les Miserables

Indeed the best thing you can do to escape boredom is to read your favorite book or you can just eat while watching a movie or film. Nowadays millenials are fond of reading fictional stories and or series like Harry Potter and Divergent series are one of the most favorite at all times. This not ends just by reading the book but watching it as they were published as a movie or a film. Last time we watched the film, Les Miserables that was written by Victor Hugo in 19th century. Basically the story started in 1862 at Paris; French Revolution. As the slaves or the criminals get off of the ship wreck 24601 was stopped by the captain Javert and was asked to retrieve the flag but it was hard for him because it was too heavy, after that he received a parole and has been invited into a priest’s home and that was how the story started, 24601 who was Jean Valjean wants to be free of being a slave.

“Don’t forget my name. I am Javert.” The captain said, who gave the parole to Jean Valjean and was named as 24601, the man who’s having a hard time to retrieve a flag. Upon receiving the parole he was full of anger because he was imprisoned for nineteen years – at hard labor – for breaking into a bakery, stealing a loaf of bread, then trying to escape from his life as a galley slave.

At this point he was invited into a priest’s home and was welcome as if he’s not an ex convict. By that time, he realised something, his heart filled with hope again because of the priest’s words. He torn the parole as a sign of being free of him. He decided to start again but not being Jean Valjean. He became a mayor and was called as Monsieur Madeliene. He noticed a commotion and there, he met Fantine who was forced to work as a prostitute for her to save Cossette’s life. Before Fantine’s death he made a promise to find Cossette. When he met Cossette, he took care of it as if it was his own child. All these years being Monsieur Madeliene, captain didn’t stop to find him. But in the end, Cossette fell in love with Marius and Valjean decided to tell the truth to Marius then leave after that. Marius and Cossette got married when the Thenardiers enters they brag about Jean Valjean. Marius forced them to tell where Jean Valjean is. Jean Valjean was about to die when the newlywed couple arrived. Jean Valjean was talking to Fantine in his mind. At that time Valjean confessed and Cossette assure him that she’s going to be okay.

The title itself already gives an idea as to what it means. Les Miserables is a French word which means, ‘the miserable ones’. The characters in the story, especially Jean Valjean was miserable.

He is miserable to escape and to be free of being a slave. And then he met Fantine, who’s working in the factory and was unemployed. She was forced to work as a prostitute to save her daughter’s life. Cossette who was treated like a slave, Marius of being in love to Cossette and Eponine who was miserably in love to Marius. Captain Javert who dedicated his life of being a captain, he was exhausted and is miserable that he ended his life. Slavery also depicts the story. The French people who starved in the streets and who cannot even protest in their own country. However, in the character of Jean Valjean he didn’t let this passed, he set his self free from slavery.

With this evidences, symbolism and imagery the author was able to show that people cannot be slave at any cost or instance clearly. The French revolution was given a justice by the use of the poetical manner of writing of Victor Hugo.

Timecrimes (Los Cronocrimenes) – Foreign Film Review

Timecrimes (Los Cronocrímenes)

Made in: Spain

Language: Spanish

Synopsis: When Marty McFly went back to 1955, it caused all kinds of trouble. But in the 21st Century, Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo proves that traveling back in time just one hour is enough to cause all sorts of head-spinning shenanigans without having to tell the story as a trilogy.

In Vigalondo’s first feature-length film, Timecrimes (Los Cronocrímenes), we follow the fate of Hector (Karra Elejalde), an ordinary guy who has moved into a house in the middle of nowhere in northern Spain. He lives there with his carefree, devoted wife, Clara (Candela Fernández), and seems to be pretty easygoing.

While sitting in his backyard late one afternoon, Hector passes the time looking around the surrounding woods through a pair of binoculars. He spies a nude, unconscious woman in the bushes somewhere, and decides to investigate (who wouldn’t?). But before he can summon help for her, Hector is viciously attacked by a man in a dark coat.

The assailant’s face is covered in a bloody bandage, and looks a little bit like the invisible man from James Whale’s 1933 classic. Hector runs for his life, enters a mysterious building, and unwittingly steps into a time machine invented by a young scientist (played by Nacho Vigalondo himself).

Hector is zapped back in time a few hours. While trying to fight his way out of a time loop that quickly gets out of hand, he encounters his double, and then his triple. But is there a way out of the string of violent events, or is Hector causing all the trouble by his very attempt to escape it?

The Good: Timecrimes is an intriguing time travel movie which proves that a strong story and script are at the core of any successful film. The sets are simple, the budget seems to be lower than a turtle’s blood pressure, and the actors are largely unknown (but good). Yet this is a thriller that offers as much excitement as any high-concept blockbuster featuring an over-paid cast.

The film has a raw look to it that makes it seem like it was shot in the 70s or early 80s, but it actually works to give the whole story a “down-to-earth” feel. It’s tightly written, fast-paced, and stays focused without any extraneous details.

The Bad: My only issue with Timecrimes is the same problem I had with the overall time travel premise of Terminator 2: How did the time loop start in the first place? Also, I wished that the movie had an ending that wasn’t so abrupt.

Who would like this movie: Timecrimes is for you if you enjoy foreign films, and independent films in general. Fans of science fiction and time travel storylines will also appreciate this movie, but with its realistic look and ordinary characters, it should have some crossover appeal to those who aren’t normally into sci-fi. It’s a simple but ingeniously made mind-bender.

(3 and 1/2 out of 4 stars)

Director: Nacho Vigalondo

Starring: Karra Elejalde, Nacho Vigalondo, Bárbara Goenaga, Candela Fernández

Year: 2007