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Distant back to product details

Upside: Photography; Downside: Character
written by talltale March 25, 2005 - 8:30 AM PST
3 out of 7 members found this review helpful
Some movies you watch for plots, others for shots. The 2003 Turkish film DISTANT falls into the latter category. Photography and cinematography are very nearly all-important: the leading character makes his living via his photos, and director Nuri Bilge Ceylan is clearly fascinated with film. Composition, spatial relationship, subtle color, and so much more: it's all here.

From the first snow-filled vista to an early scene in which the lead actor is caught in sharp close-up while his paramour undresses and beckons in deep soft focus, from marvelous snowfalls to a ship overturned on shore--visuals reign supreme. I can't imagine anyone interested in photography/cinematography not rushing to rent--perhaps own--this film. (Interestingly, for a movie so concerned with the visual, many of the scenes come across as slightly fuzzy--due possibly to the limits of video, budget or a less than stellar DVD transfer.)

Consider all the above to be the upside. Unfortunately, "Distant" features an anti-hero who tries one's patience. Distant vistas may be shown, but it's the main character Mahmut who's most removed--from everything and everyone, including himself. This "distance" grows at last into a tiresome movie. At film's end, the camera closes in (and in, and in) on its lead character, as though trying to get inside his head. It can't. And neither can you. Mahmut remains pretty much a cipher, and ciphers don't make for rich movies. Distant, indeed.


(Average 6.41)
37 Votes
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