Shanghai: How Nuri Bilge Ceylan Sees the World so Differently

Variety | 6/17/2019 | Patrick Frater
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At a masterclass on Thursday, Turkish film director Nuri Bilge Ceylan gave the initial impression of being an austere and unwilling participant. Wearing heavy glasses, keeping his coat on, and responding to questions rather than offering a class, his manner suggested that he was difficult.

In China as the head of the Shanghai International Film Festival’s competition jury, Ceylan also came across as brilliant, learned, insightful, and interestingly self-critical. “I may not be an ideal father (to my two sons),” he said, having recently made a film “The Wild Pear Tree,” in which father-son relationship is central. He also confessed to twice being caught shoplifting cassettes at a time when he lived in London.

Ceylan - Kleptomaniac - Forms - Determination - Contradictory

But if Ceylan is dogmatic and kleptomaniac, they demonstrate forms of determination that serve his particular, contradictory and dogmatic, film-making process. A process that earned him the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2014 for “Winter Sleep.”

Ceylan says he works methodically, one movie at a time. But he also values spontaneity. He has largely embraced digital production, and holds no nostalgia for 35mm film. He respects scripts, but truly creates his films in the editing room.

Ceylan - World-view - Film - Production - Film

In Ceylan’s world-view, both film production and film viewing are matters of discovery and revelation on one hand, and things unsaid and unseen, on the other.

“Directing is about everything, like being a god. (One) should make the audience active. Hide the truths behind something. Make the audience work,” he said.

Script - Wife - Party - Lot - Lot

Even with a script usually hammered out with himself, his wife and a third party, “I still shoot a lot (of takes). I want a lot of alternatives. I’m always afraid that I lose something and cannot go back,” he said at one point, later revealing that ten takes is an absolute minimum. Upto 40 is normal.

“I shoot a lot of things that are opposite....
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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