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Keep 'Distant' Distant

What gets into film festival juries? Yes, that's a rhetorical question occasioned by having rented a completely unsuccessful Turkish clunker -- Distant -- on the basis of a Cannes Film Festival prize of some sort (actually . . . Grand Prize of the Jury and Best Actor -- shared by Ozdemir and Toprak -- at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival).

Written and directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, the film is as dreary as a motel in the US mid-west. If something is being alleged in it about the wretchedness of the lives of some men, of the loneliness of the disengaged, it is said in the first seven minutes. After that . . . quite frankly it is hard to care.

One review called it an "art house" film. A painting can, indeed, imprison despair in its frame (Edvard Munch's The Scream). But it does so for a moment, evocatively, even powerfully. You can step away and have its force last a lifetime. Watching the first 30 minutes of Distant merely felt like it took a lifetime.

A Short Break from Blogging

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