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3,062 Ratings

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Bir zamanlar Anadolu'da

Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2011
Drama, Crime
  • Turkish
  • English


A group of policemen, a young doctor, and a confessed killer search the Anatolian steppes for a body, as a long and mysterious night slowly turns into a cold dawn…

Our take

Turkey’s pre-eminent auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan took home the Grand Prix prize from the Cannes Film Festival with this hypnotic, slow-burning neo-noir. In Ceylan’s trademark visual rhythms, mysteries stack upon mysteries in an enigmatic journey through a landscape, a murder, and a chiaroscuro night.

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

2011 | Winner: Grand Prize of the Jury

Independent Spirit Awards

2013 | Nominee: Best International Film

Village Voice Film Poll

2012 | 2 nominations including: Best Director

Critics reviews

Despite its grueling pace and sparse ornamentation, Ceylan’s anti-mystery demands, and invites, multiple viewings. The first rewatch helps clarify the seeming gaps in its spaced-out narrative, but after that you can just wallow in the exceptional beauty of the compositions.
July 09, 2015
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Ceylan’s crowning achievement so far may well be Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, his unprecedentedly epic police procedural whose narrative engine is the interrelation of a group of male characters brought together, literally and spiritually, by a crime we never see. In the daily minutiae of police work, Ceylan discovers mystery upon mystery, as the film’s conversational density gradually becomes percolated by suggestive silences and charged tangents.
January 04, 2015
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