Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s latest effort, “Bir Zamanlar Anadolu’da” (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia), is being presented to film critics Friday at this year’s Cannes film festival, where it is in contention for the prestigious Palme d’Or award in the main competition.
“Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” will be shown in two press screenings, one at 7 p.m. at the Debussy and the other at 10:30 p.m. at the Bazin, on Friday. The film’s gala will take place Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Grand Theatre Lumiere, which will be preceded customarily by a red carpet session. Ahead of the gala, Ceylan and members of the film’s cast will be on hand at a press conference Saturday afternoon to field questions from critics and journalists.
Turkish film professionals and critics familiar with the Cannes festival argue that Ceylan’s film being one of the last gala screenings in the competition lineup raises its chances of clinching an award at the 64th festival, which wraps up Sunday.
Starring well-known screen and stage actors Yılmaz Erdoğan, Taner Birsel and Fırat Tanış in the leading roles, “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” follows a doctor and an attorney in a tense story over 12 hours in a small town in Anatolia. The 150-minute thriller, a Turkish-Bosnian co-production, was shot over a period of 11 weeks on the steppes of Keskin, a small town near the Central Anatolian province of Kırıkkale.
Ceylan, a regular at Cannes, won the festival’s prestigious best director award for his dark drama “Üç Maymun” (Three Monkeys) in 2008. He was a member of the jury for the main competition, chaired by Sean Penn, in the 2009 festival. Ceylan’s debut short, “Koza” (Cocoon), was screened in the Cannes’ official selection in 1995. His third feature, “Uzak” (Distant), received the Grand Prix and the Best Actor prize at the 2003 festival, and his 2006 feature “İklimler” (Climates) won the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Award.