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Without warning, Mahmut’s distant relative Yusuf arrives in Istanbul determined to find a job aboard a ship so that he may fulfill his dream of traveling around the world. In need of a place to stay as he searches for work, Yusuf imposes himself on Mahmut, who resents the sudden intrusion, but nonetheless feels obliged to help his family. It doesn’t take long for Yusuf to discover that the work he is looking for isn’t available, but he manages to prolong his stay with Mahmut by formulating stories that would suggest otherwise. His hope waning, Yusuf resorts to spending his days drifting through the streets of Istanbul, slowly coming to the realization that without work he may soon need to return home. Mahmut tries to help by offering him a job as his assistant during a photography shoot, but the fix is temporary. As the two men struggle to make a connection, communication is slowly reduced to the bare minimum; and their time together must come to an end.
Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan wrote, directed, photographed, produced and co-edited this profoundly beautiful picture about detachment and isolation without allowing the austerity of his story to overwhelm the heartwarming, often comic, moments that permeate this award-winning film. Set in a wintry, contemporary Istanbul, the stunning cinematography was clearly instrumental in procuring the Grand Prix at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, where Muzaffer Özdemir and Mehmet Emin Toprak also shared best actor honors for their remarkable performances.
"DISTANT," a moving character piece from Nuri Bilge Ceylan, clearly derives some of its sensibilities from the hallowed cinematic churches of Andrei Tarkovsky and Yasujiro Ozu (and there's a little Chekhov, too, in his approach). Following the protracted tension between two lonely Turkish men, it at ...