Uzak / Distant by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2002
This is a film about the loneliness of possessing a self. About existing in the midst of the length and breadth of life that nature offers. It’s about the absurdity of life which is often portrayed through deep, clean colors and panoramic shots. It can mean different things to different people; things forgotten, left behind, destroyed, and abandoned because of time's inevitable voyage, whether or not one is ready for it.
Maybe we're afraid to accept change in fear of never catching up to life's towering presence because it's terrifying. We are still used to that hibernation of existence. The passive ways of living, the silence, the routine, the familiarity. And when we see others embracing what we were once so afraid of, somehow, we want to share in that relief of letting go. To be one with whatever life throws our way. Because then, we are one with time's movement. And we can look at ourselves differently - as if for the first time.
Uzak, which translates to ‘Distant’ is about loneliness and imperfections. The spaces they occupy: cramped, dark, uncertain, and quiet. This world and the people in it form a labyrinth; each cradling their own darkness and light, sadness and despair. And we extend this to everyone we meet. We meet people as imperfect, cloudy, and amorphous reflections. Hoping to somehow appear less uncertain to others. We yearn to be seen as we truly are.
This film demands more than attention from its viewer. It's artistically realistic. It's familiar. And it promises both thoughtful introspection and deep consolation. Because humans exist more transparently in their thoughts than they do in their actions. Perhaps that is why we feel films before we see them. We feel the cool air of the winter, the silence of an empty road. We want to lose ourselves in ways unimagined, in films, in stories, in people.
The loneliness of such a voyage may make up the rest of our lives. No destiny. No fate. Life is the road we find ourselves on and begin again at every turn. We extend ourselves to others for support, for hope, sometimes for direction. But the journey to wherever we are going is ours and ours alone.
(cover image credits: https://twitter.com/mubiturkiye/status/1328976917924634626)