Muzaffer Ozdemir

DVD cover
Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Produced by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Written by Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Muzaffer Özdemir

Mehmet Emin Toprak
Cinematography Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Editing by

Ayhan Ergürsel

Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Release date(s) 20 July 2002
Running time 110 minutes
Country Turkey
Language Turkish

Uzak is a 2002 Turkish film directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan. It was released as Distant in North America, a straight translation of its title.


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
  • Emin Toprak as Yusuf
  • Zuhal Gencer as Nazan (as Zuhal Gencer Erkaya)
  • Nazan Kirilmis as Lover
  • Feridun Koc as Janitor
  • Fatma Ceylan as Mother

Significance of title

The use of the word distant rather than distance shifts emphasis from the gap itself to the state of existence. While Yusuf is from the village, Mahmut lives in the city. Although they are able to bridge the geographical distance they remain emotionally and spiritually distant. Mahmut spends his days in the city trying to cope with loneliness and emotional vacuum. While the arrival of his cousin Yusuf should have filled in that hollowness, it only proves to deepen for both of them. The film portrays the alienation brought about by increasing globalization and urbanization.

It is also aptly and to an extent ironically picturized in the scene where Yusuf tells Mahmut of his intention to find a job on a ship, to which Mahmut replies that a sailor's job is tough and consists of sailing to faraway lands totally cut off from civilization and asks him if he would choose such a life of loneliness and solitude. Yusuf in return says that he only cares about the money as he had heard there were chunks of money in the sailing business. This in a way reflects the mentality and the desperation of the modern generation and their willingness to distance themselves from their objects of love and passion for the sake of material wealth and a junk lifestyle.

Death of Emin Toprak

This was the last film that Emin Toprak could make, as soon after the filming of Uzak was completed, he died in a car accident at 28 years old.


The film received highly positive reviews with an 88% approval rating from critics (7.8 average rating) at Rotten Tomatoes[1] and 84 on Metacritic.[2]

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."[3] David Sterritt of The Christian Science Monitor describes it as a "unassuming, acutely observant drama."[4]

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.[5]


External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • Rotten Tomatoes
  • Uzak: A film review

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