Distant ★★★★½

One of those experiences that caught me off guard initially--I haven't seen all of Ceylan's films, but one of the striking things about them is how he uses silence and visuals, how they really do feel more like visual novels for lack of a better word, than perhaps other descriptors. Distant, at first, seemed straightforward enough--a middle-aged man who's a photographer with a good job is emotionally withdrawn, afraid to sacrifice his lifestyle for his interests--watching his ex-wife get ready to depart for Canada with her new boyfriend, and putting up a nephew who's younger and aimless, has come to the big city in hopes of finding work, maybe on a ship. At first, the discomfort here seems straightforward enough, but through various discomforts--an awkward conversation between the photographer and his ex-- a scene involving a pocketwatch, and a hell of a central metaphor confronting the younger man involving a trapped mouse that hit me like a hammerblow, the film gradually just keeps going until you realize how deep its claws have sunk into you (and how funny it occasionally is--there's a deadpan joke involving Tarkovsky that's pretty perfect). It's funny, because I've never really thought of myself as a fan of movies that are primarily about silence, or about the things we don't say--possibly because it's really hard to craft a film around such topics effectively and do it justice, but Ceylan here, has made it look easy. I know I'm going to keep thinking about this one for a long time.

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