Turkey’s ‘Once’ in Oscar bid

Nuri Bilge Ceylan film mulls guilt

TEL AVIV — Helmer Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia,” Turkey’s submission for foreign-lingo Oscar, is an intense and slow-moving drama about the search for a corpse in the grasslands of Turkish Anatolia.

A doctor, a public prosecutor, a police chief and a murder suspect together comb the region’s vast steppes in what becomes a critique on bureaucracy and a meditation on guilt and responsibility.

Pic, co-winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes, is Ceylan’s second selection for the Oscar pool. In 2009, Turkey submitted his “Three Monkeys,” which made it to the Academy’s nine-film shortlist but was not nominated.

Turkey’s Committee of Artistic Activities, an independent body of film professionals, chose “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia.”

This year the committee, known by its Turkish acronym SEK, included director Semih Kaplanoglu and actress Meltem Combul.

The 84th Academy Awards will be held Feb. 26 at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

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