The impossible possible narrative: the quest for truth in Bir Zamanlar Anadolu’da/Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011)

Orit Dudai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The paper explores how the film Bir Zamanlar Anadolu’da/Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011) represents the difficulty of uncovering meaning and truth in a psychoanalytic process of coming to ‘know thyself’. The film is about a journey to resolve a murder mystery, a crime without reference, trace or known motivation. The protagonists’ aspiration for truth is met by a maze of empty signs, confronting them with distortion, disorientation and a variety of possible narratives. The clarification of facts leads to dead ends; solving one mystery only leads to another, opening more contradictory narratives, alternate memories and disputed spaces. The paper reflects on the possibility that the film’s non-discursive, poetic style can capture, beyond its mimetic aspects, a reality beholden to memory, dreams and other manifestations of the unconscious. In containing both, by means of its poetic discourse, the film enables an expanded meditation on truth and meaning. It offers a resolution that emerges in the creation of a tale bound not only to facts, but to a general truth: a scheme above time, enabling reflectivity, a story to be told–”Once Upon a Time in Anatolia”.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-50
Number of pages16
JournalStudies in European Cinema
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Nuri Bilge Ceylan
  • knowledge/truth
  • narrative
  • poetic cinema (Pier Paolo Pasolini)
  • ‘repetition images’/”reflective images”

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