Distant

Distant ★★★½

Been eyeing this one up a while now, courtesy of a rather lovely poster and glowing words from Peter Bradshaw right on the DVD cover. After experiencing the unending wonders of Once Upon a Time in Anatolia I was all the more eager. Ceylan has a terrific eye for a great shot, using vast snowy landscapes like malleable props to suit his own ends. His framing of Istanbul dockyards and the surrounding cityscapes buried beneath sheets of snow encapsulates perfectly the disaffection of his characters, their inability to relate to one another and to the wider world around them. It's quite visually stunning, and the glacial pace to match is exactly the kind of pleasantly ruminative thing I always appreciate. Yet something held me back from embracing it as wholly as Anatolia. Maybe it's that the sense of coldness is too wholly replicated, stripping the film itself of potential relation to the characters. I didn't feel terribly engaged with either of the central men, and save for a single scene near the end emotional reactions were nowhere to be found. An effective economic analysis and a sure artistic achievement, but not as much of an affecting human portrait as I wanted,