Counter programming. As the rest of the world watch the rest of the world get destroyed in a bit of snow the smug arthouse congescenti are evading the hordes by slipping in to see the only other released last week. A little bit of Turkish: Uzak. And I could hear the world being destroyed next door and I have to admit, I got a bit ansty.

Uzak (Distant) is a low-key piece about a middle aged single Turkish photographer whose cousin comes to visit. Cue country mouse town mouse clashes, which never really arise. Instead we have the much more recognisable pains of having to share with someone who outstays their welcome. What is nice about Uzak is that both character are sympathetic: though it does not always remain that way and the distance in the title soon becomes clear. Distant cousins, but the newly divorced and disillusioned photographer is becoming distant from everyone.

This is the centre of the film, the rest of the film opens out suggesting this might be a Western malaise. This is modern Turkey, suffering from recession and the search for work and the plumping ofr lousy jobs adds to the depression. It has the same observational detail of a Kiarostami film, but the characters seem much better developed. Unlike Kiarostami there is no suggestion that this is a metaphor for anything except itself, and as it ends with a status quo similar to its start you still feel that the film has taken you somewhere. The future here is almost as bleak as in The Day After Tomorrow: that has unrealistic hope, this has uncalled for apathy.

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