Uzak – Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Uzak (Poster)

An interesting question is how do you make films after Tarkovsky? The actual experience of Tarkovsky is one of pure raw visceral impressions. When he wasn’t meddled with by stupid producers he made films that existed outside any of the traditional constraints of film construction. ‘Zerkalo’ is a pure untampered experience for which the comsology is Tarkovsky’s head as it exists when finding his way into universal expression. It almost makes little sense in conventional watching, yet its impressions are things you recognize somehow, in some familiar deeply buried part of your soul. You cannot live your life without experiencing some part of him (although in my opinion, the more you postpone him the better).

So the answer to that question is a bit silly. You just make the film you can do best. Ceylan here has nothing of Tarkovsky, which works to his disadvantadge. Tarkovsky followed a model which was half his intuition and half his intellectual explorations. Since he was an intelligent man and understood cinema apart from plays, he could create a place for us that would be seated in the nature of the eye. His exploration of cinematic space was parraleled with the exploration of soul. A sublime dance.

But Ceylan here is still dangerously close to theater, very far from Tarkovsky. Yes, he has some dimensional awareness, so his shots are composed accordingly. In fact, it is the only reason we tolerate his lingering camera. But that’s not an art, it’s a pre-established aesthetical choice. Good framing. A pretty tupperware.

So what’s inside of it? Well, it’s the small things of being. Self-contempt, the inadequecy of connectedness, the lack of trascendence. It’s all laid out precisely and perfectly nuanced. It has a rhythm which reflects the pace at which these things could move inside of us as well. And in that context, it works perfectly well.

But here we have something that wants to hint at greatness, but ends up only hinting that it could hint. I prefer the naivety of illusions of grandeur and the commitment that could come with that (à la Herzog), to the self-deprecating sense of self-awareness we have here. Yes, it’s honest, but it’s self-apologetic and uninteresting. Sort of like the main character.

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Categories: Notes

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