Ceylan’s third feature won directing and acting prizes at the Cannes Film Festival,with the two male leads sharing the award for their achingly authentic performances. Ceylan’s camera quietly records the interactions inside the apartment (the director’s own), and follows the men as they each attempt to connect with the outside world. Short on dialogue, heavy on mood, this rich drama parses the spaces between the characters as well as the distance between dreams and reality. Tragically, Toprak died in a car accident the day the film was accepted at Cannes.
Mahmut (Ozdemir) is a divorced photographer living in Istanbul, contentedly leading a somewhat solitary bachelor’s existence. Yusuf (Toprak), a young cousin from his home village, turns up in the city looking for work at the shipyards, and asks Mahmut if he can stay with him for a “few days”. Yusuf’s job hunt extends a good bit longer, but goes nowhere. Soon his intrusive presence in the apartment starts to irritate the fastidious Mahmut. Caught in an awkward situation, the two men are unable to find common ground.