Uzak is a 2002 Turkish film directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan. It was released as Distant in North America, a literal translation of its title. The movie is the winner of 31 awards including Best Actor at Cannes, Special Jury Prize at Chiago, and Best Balkan Movie at Sophia International Film Festival.
Uzak tells the story of Yusuf (Mehmet Emin Toprak), a young factory worker who loses his job and travels to Istanbul to stay with his relative Mahmut (Muzaffer Özdemir) while looking for a job. Mahmut is a relatively wealthy and intellectual photographer, whereas Yusuf is almost illiterate, uneducated, and unsophisticated. The two do not get along well. Yusuf assumes that he will easily find work as a sailor, but there are no jobs, and he has no sense of direction or energy. Meanwhile, Mahmut, despite his wealth, is aimless too: his job, which consists of photographing tiles, is dull and inartistic, he can barely express emotions towards his ex-wife or his lover, and while he pretends to enjoy intellectual filmmakers like Andrei Tarkovsky, he switches channels to watch porn as soon as Yusuf leaves the room.
Mahmut attempts to bond with Yusuf and recapture his love of art by taking him on a drive to photograph the beautiful Turkish countryside, but the attempt is a failure on both counts. At the end of the film, Yusuf leaves without telling Mahmut, who is left to sit by the docks, watching the ships on his own.
Muzaffer Özdemir as Mahmut
Mehmet Emin Toprak as Yusuf
Zuhal Gencer as Nazan (as Zuhal Gencer Erkaya)
Nazan Kirilmis as Lover
Feridun Koc as Janitor
Fatma Ceylan as Mother
Death of Emin Toprak
Uzak was the last film that the actor Emin Toprak would be involved with, as he died in a car accident soon after filming was completed. He was 28 years old.
Distant has received universal acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a "certified fresh" rating of 88%, based on 43 reviews, with an average rating of 7.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Hauntingly beautiful, Distant communicates volumes with its almost pervasive silence." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 84 out of 100, based on 18 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
Tom Dawson of BBC describes the film as "richly contemplative and languid filmmaking" and added "Few recent films have been so accomplished in capturing the way people drift through their lives, unable to communicate their emotions and feelings." David Sterritt of The Christian Science Monitor describes it as a "unassuming, acutely observant drama."
Uzak won 17 awards and 2 nominations, including the Grand Prix and Prix d'interprétation masculine, shared by the two lead actors of the film at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.