(aka "Distant" )

directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Turkey 2002

Leaving his village in search of something to do, both with his hands in form of a job and with his life, Yusuf travels to Istanbul, where he gets border from his older cousin Mahmut. Mahmut is a man who is alienated by distancing himself from both people and emotions and Yusuf is a man alienated by being a stranger and thus being distant to people and his own emotions. Hence they don’t really talk to each other, but just go about doing their own business as time passes by them.

While Ceylan pays homage to Tarkovsky by Mahmut watching both “Solaris” and “Stalker”, he seems more influenced by Tsai, in the observing quality of his mise-en-scene and the way he lets time be an entity. His characters always look towards the horizon, towards a distant object, not visible to the eye, as they long for what is missing, just like they rarely speak. Thoreau once said, “We all live our life in quiet desperation”. This have never been more true than in “Uzak”.

Apart from being an existential text, “Uzak” is also political, as Turkey is a country in transition. It is too democratic to belong to the Muslim middle-east, it is not democratic enough for Europe. Everyone is fleeing the country. Mahmut’s ex-wife is moving to Canada and Yusuf is eventual leaving himself by ship. Thus Mahmut appears like a personification of contemporary Turkey, looking back on its past (by him revisiting Anatolia), isolated by national identity and longing for what out of ones reach.

But where the main text virtually screams out in desperation, the final scene is full of hope. Having “survived” his unwelcome visitor, Mahmut sits watching the ships pass by him and smokes a cigarette. Mahmut is a non smoker, but as Yusuf has left some behind, Mahmut chooses to smoke one, thereby stepping out of character, and any change suggests hope.

Awarded the Grand Prix at Cannes, “Uzak” is a rare masterpiece of cinema, both in text and in texture. Profound, quirky and haunting.

Henrik Sylow


Theatrical Release: December 20, 2002 (Istanbul)

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DVD Review: Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the Review!

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Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:45:00 (4% PAL speedup)

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.4 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital Turkish, 5.1 Dolby Digital Turkish
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with Nuri Bilge Ceylan (30:42)
• Koza - debut short feature (17:41)
• Behind the Scenes (42:21)
• Filmographies

DVD Release Date: September 27th, 2004
Keep case

Chapters 13


The image looks great, even though there are signs of edge enhancements. But with more than three hours of film material on a DVD, it is far less than expected.

The DVD has about 90 minutes of additional material. Starting out with a very standard “Behind the Scene” featurette, the following 30 minute interview with Ceylan is very insightful, as he speaks in detail about motifs, style and characters.

As an added bonus is his first film “Kozu” (Cocoon). It is a silent black and white short film, where Ceylan very much imitates style and compositions of Tarkovsky. To study its mise-en-scene vs. the one in “Uzak” and how Ceylan has developed his own visual style should prove rewarding.

 - Henrik Sylow

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Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL


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