Distant (Uzak)

(Turkey/2002—directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan) 

Divorced photographer Mahmut finds his life of solitary routine is interrupted when Yusuf, a distant cousin from his remote village, shows up without warning to stay in Mahmut’s tiny Istanbul apartment until he can find work. The job doesn’t materialize, but instead of leveling with his host, Yusuf invents a series of scenarios in hopes of prolonging his stay; the result is a subtly comic psychological dance that can’t help but suggest an austere yet witty Turkish tribute to Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple.

Released 20 years ago but unavailable for theatrical exhibition for years, Distant—written, directed, photographed, produced and co-edited by Nuri Bilge Ceylan—was awarded the coveted Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. In Turkish with English subtitles. (110 minutes)

“Remarkable! A Chekhovian tale of major artistic power… Genuinely beautiful and haunting.” –Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune