On Saturday (10/08/11) Walter Reade Theater's Furman Gallery hosted an intimate Q&A with acclaimed Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan and NYFF Associate Program Director Scott Foundas. Since it took place directly before the festival screening of Ceylan's latest film Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, the talk focused on Ceylan's previous films and his career leading up to Anatolia.
Born in Istanbul, Nuri Bilge Ceylan was raised in the small town of Yenice. He recalled watching Turkish films almost every day at the local cinema, which he said were very influential in his early life. Though he studied engineering in college, he decided to become a filmmaker after he enrolled in the military. Ceylan said that he found his calling after reading a biography of Roman Polanski during his service. He made his first film, a short called Cocoon (Koza), at the age of 36. It became the first Turkish short film to be accepted to Cannes Film Festival.
In response to a question about time and pacing in his films, Ceylan said their slowness is not a rational choice but comes naturally; the way he senses the world is slower than the rest of us, especially as he has grown older. He added that it is also a way of capturing longer moments in life which we might have missed otherwise.
Once Upon A Time In Anatolia marks the second time Nuri Bilge Ceylan has used professional actors, which he did as a way of challenging himself and in keeping with his opinion that "art is an endless voyage." This specific journey started with a story from a doctor friend and blossomed into a 157-minute study of human behavior and an homage to life in the countryside.