Uzak review

Written, photographed and directed by Turkey's Nuri Bilge Ceylan, this assured, contemplative arthouse drama is filled with a palpable sense of loss and yearning. Its slender storyline concerns Yusuf (Emin Toprak), an unemployed young man from the countryside who comes to a wintry Istanbul in search of work. He stays in the apartment of his divorced cousin Mahmut (Muzaffer Ozdemir), a successful-yet-cynical photographer who's soon irritated at having his solitary routine disrupted by Yusuf's presence.

With calm detachment, Ceylan's camera observes these two men as they struggle to cope with the loneliness of modern urban existence. There's no music on the soundtrack and the dialogue is minimal. Yet there's a vein of wry humour in Ceylan's depiction of an awkward domestic cohabitation, and our knowledge that Emin Toprak died in a car crash after filming was completed deepens the melancholic mood.

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