Bir Zamanlar Anadolu’da (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia). 2011. Turkey/Bosnia and Herzegovina. Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan. In Turkish; English subtitles. 157 min.
Screenplay by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Erbru Ceylan, Ercan Kesal. With Muhammet Uzuner, Yilmaz Erdogan, Taner Birsel. Ceylan captures the dark night of the soul, here encapsulated as a search through the countryside surrounding a small Anatolian village for a missing body. The killer has confessed, but was too drunk to remember where the murder took place; as the quest continues through the night, the local doctor and coroner (Uzuner), the police commissioner (Erdogan), and the lead prosecutor (Birsel) find their conversation circling back to a single significant topic: the notion that the sins of the parents are paid for by their children. Ceylan’s expressive use of landscape here achieves new heights, as he meticulously documents the haunting atmosphere that envelops the isolated town and its tortured inhabitants.