Monday, 27 October 2014

BFI’s month-long Nuri Bilge Ceylan season starts today

The award-winning Three Monkeys forms part of BFI's Nuri Bilge Ceylan season of films


BFI Southbank, London. Until 27 November 2014

Earlier this year, Turkish film director Nuri Bilge Ceylan took the top prize at Cannes with his film Kış Uykusu (Winter Sleep). Winning this year’s Palme d’Or capped a great run for Ceylan at the world’s leading film festival. Previously, he received the Grand Prix twice: for Uzak/Distant (2002) and again in 2011 for Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. In 2006 his movie Climates won the FIPRESCI prize, and in 2008 he received the Best Director Award with Three Monkeys.

Haluk Bilginer in this year’s Palme d’Or winner Winter Sleep
You can see all these and his earlier works at the month-long season the British Film Institute (BFI) is running on Ceylan. Tonight features a double bill, Ceylan’s first two films: Kasaba (The Small Town) and Koza (Cocoon).

This is what Geoff Andrew, Head of Film Programming at the BFI, wrote about the acclaimed director while introducing the Nuri Bilge Ceylan season. 

“Ten years on, Ceylan is widely recognised as one of the most impressive and distinctive figures in international cinema. It’s not just a question of his having now won all the major prizes Cannes has to offer, culminating in this year’s Palme d’Or for Winter Sleep; more importantly, it’s very evident that he’s grown considerably as an artist.

Acclaimed director Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Though his first three films were strong enough for me to write, when introducing that first season, that he was ‘a consummate auteur’, he has consistently pushed himself. For example, his films were always notable for their visual elegance – hardly surprising, since he’s also an excellent photographer – but his experiments with digital technology have resulted in his films having a ‘look’ that’s both recognisably Ceylan’s own and subtle in its beauty. Then there are the challenges he sets himself with regard to narrative style: though they were never constricted by considerations of genre, his storylines have steadily become more ambitious in duration, more adventurously discursive and more nuanced in their intriguing play with point of view.

But it’s not just the formal aspects of Ceylan’s work that make him such a fascinating artist. His films impress for their sharp psychological and ethical insights; their awareness of how individual lives and characters are shaped by social and historical realities; their expert balancing of serious drama and droll humour; and their honesty. He is, undoubtedly, one of the most incisive observers of the male psyche working in film today. It helps that Ceylan prefers to focus on the kinds of people, places and problems he’s familiar with. Indeed, few major filmmakers have worked so closely with family and friends either as cast members or, in the case of his wife Ebru, as frequent co-writer. No wonder his films are notable for marvellous scenes of authentic, unsentimental intimacy.

As ten years ago, some advice. All Ceylan’s films work beautifully in their own right, but there are extra pleasures to be had – especially with the first three or four – from watching them in the order in which they were made, not only because one sees Ceylan refining his art but because they grow out of and reflect back on their predecessors in intriguing and very agreeable ways. Enjoy!”

Season dates: 27 October to 27 November 2014
Address:  BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London SE1 8XT
Start time:  varies
Entry: from £8.15


Related news: 

Nuri Bilgi Ceylan takes the top prizeat Cannes, 3 June 2014

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