A Scene From "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia' by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Roughly halfway through Nuri Bilge Ceylan's 'Once Upon a Time in Anatolia', after a long night in search of a body through remote Turkish hillsides, a weary parade of officials and the accused stop for sustenance. Tiredness and confusion has muddled the mind of the suspect over the whereabouts of the body. The search party, consisting of a police commissioner, doctor, prosecutor and driver, are all past the point of tiredness. They've all written the night off and have resigned themselves to the fact that they're unlikely to return to town with either a confession or the missing body. In the early hours of the morning, the three-car parade stop for a break in a village and gather in the darkness of the local mayor's home. All the men are physically and emotionally spent. Even in the darkness, the stresses and strains of their working and personal lives are discernable through the shadows thrown on each of their faces. Cracks are showing that may never go away. These men are at odds with themselves as the night's seemingly endless objective serves as a macabre catalyst for deep introspection over an inner struggle. They are all caught in this contemplation when the mayor's daughter - lamplit and dazzling in her youthfulness - enters the room unnoticed to serve drinks. It is a scene almost completely free of dialogue as the light from the girl's candle illuminates each of the men's faces as she moves about the room. The camera catches their reaction in turn as she serves each of them tea. One man double-takes, one triple-takes, another wakes from a light sleep and looks at her as if she were just a continuation of his dream. The girl's illuminated presence serves as a reminder to the men that truth and beauty can exist in the most ugly of circumstances, untangling their troubles by reducing them to their lowest common denominator. Her presence has the most outwardly profound effect on the murderer, convincing him to make his confession before the search is recommenced. It is an extraordinarily nuanced and expertly choreographed scene.