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home > awards > 2003 > Grand Prix : Nuri Bilge Ceylan
 

Grand prix - Best Film of the Year 2003

Nuri Bilge Ceylan

The Lonely Wolf of the Turkish Cinema
by Atilla Dorsay

Nuri Bilge Ceylan (born in Istanbul, 1959) was brought up in the country. After gaining an electric engineer diploma from the prestigious Bosphorus University of Istanbul, he lived in London, made long trips (one of them to the Himalayas) and returned home with hundreds of black-and-white photos. He was first noticed with a 20-minute film, "Koza-Cacoon" selected for Cannes' short films. His first feature, "Kasaba - The Town" was shot in black-and-white in the very town where he grew up, with a team of only two, including himself who also wrote, shot and edited it. Very small crews and a very artisanal way of making films would become his trademark. His two following films, "Mayis Sikintisi - Clouds of May" and "Uzak - Distant" were chosen respectively for Berlin 2000 and Cannes 2003.

Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

Nuri Bilge Ceylan is a unique director in the general panorama of the Turkish cinema. The 'lonely wolf' of the Turkish cinema insists on staying outside the 'system', writing, directing, shooting and editing all his films, filming only his family or friends. His is an essentially documentary style, but shaped and refined with long shots, careful camera movements and a precious editing which allow the young filmmaker to recreate life as he sees it in every new film. A constant rhythm and a faithful approach to reality, but each time with a different taste left in our mouths, a taste of the turkish cherry, one is inclined to say, thinking of the great Iranian cineaste whom Ceylan declares one of his masters, next to Bergman, Antonioni and Tarkovsky. All of his films have had a very positive critical response. Such as: "An exquisite orchestration of monochrome cinematography and sound" (Sight and Sound, for The Town), "A miracle of sensuality and poetry..." (Le Monde, for Clouds of May). " Uzak is in the tradition of Joyce's urban paralysis, Eliot's Wasteland, the cruel vaudeville of Waiting for Godot and, perhaps most importantly, the pained silences and the expressionist, dessicated landscape of Antonioni" (Cinematographer, for Distant).

Atilla Dorsay
© FIPRESCI 2003

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Read also the review of Uzak.

New Director of the Year 2003:
Reconstruction by Christoffer Boe.

 

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