• Introduction

    Chair of the Department of German at UC Berkeley and an authority on contemporary Turkish cinema


Muzzafer Özdemir, Mehmet Emin Toprak, Zuhal Gencer, Nazan Kesal,

A fittingly windswept, desolate Istanbul provides the setting for Ceylan’s award-winning examination of solitude and camaraderie. After his wife leaves him, the commercial photographer Mahmut spends his days haunting the streets and bars of Istanbul, surrounded by others, yet always alone. His melancholy is soon interrupted—or perfected—by the arrival of Yusuf, a distant relative from the Turkish sticks whose presence reminds Mahmut of what he left behind. (It also gets in the way of his porn viewing.) Related by blood, yet with little to relate to, the two struggle to connect. While few works capture urban loneliness as well as Distant, the film is also surprisingly witty, filled with silent set pieces to help break the mood. Filmed in Ceylan’s own apartment, Distant earned the 2003 Cannes Grand Jury Prize, as well as Best Actor awards for both of its leads. Tragically, Mehmet Emin Toprak, who played Yusuf, was killed in a car accident just after learning of the film’s acceptance into Cannes.

Jason Sanders
  • Nuri Bilge Ceylan
  • Cemil Kavukça
  • Nuri Bilge Ceylan
  • Turkish
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • Color
  • DCP
  • 110 mins
  • Zeyno Film