Rural landscape and decaying big cities
Ceylan’s films reflect his other identity as a photographer, with landscape images drawing the viewers into stillness, long sequences, amateur acting, and minimum dialogue. His films are minimalist, in the truest sense of the word. His movies are, literally and metaphorically, journeys back home. They take Ceylan to his hometown where parents, relatives and friends become actors.
The strong autobiographical elements reflect alienation of individuals in modern world, their existential angst in the face of change, monotony as opposed to constant movement, and power of small details in everyday life. It is not that easy to engage into Ceylan’s movies. More than following the story, you need to immerse yourself into the still world of his rural landscapes or decaying big cities.
Ceylan is not a fan of visual effects and sound effects, dubbing, or even musical score. That’s one of the occasional criticisms of his cinema. But he is not one to give in to popular demands or to a high number of audiences. He is shy in front of attention and the media. He is often compared to another auteur, Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, with his awe of grand rural landscapes, child protagonists and themes on existential issues.
A quick look at the names of Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s movies would actually give an accurate picture on his filmmaking: Cocoon, Small Town, Clouds of May (the direct translation from Turkish would be Anguish or Boredom of May), Distant and Climates.