Tuesday, November 13, 2007

HOKKABAZ | Cem Yilmaz and Ali Taner Baltaci

HOKKABAZ “Conjurer”
Directed by Cem Yilmaz and Ali Taner Baltaci

Written by Cem Yilmaz
Cast: Cem Yilmaz, Mazhar Alanson, Ozlem Tekin, Tuna Orhan
2006, 122 min. 35mm.
In Turkish with English subtitles

In his latest film, the enormously popular Turkish comedian Cem Yilmaz plays the struggling magician Iskender. The only person who believes in him is his childhood friend Maradona (Tuna Orhan) and together they dream of a better life. They embark on a tour of Anatolia to escape the hustle and bustle of Istanbul's streets, and to make as much money as possible. Things go wrong almost immediately when they are forced to take along Iskender's father, the mad Sait (Mazhar Alanson), who wrote off his son years ago. On the road, they entertain at a wedding party only to have the disappearing trick go terribly wrong, leading them to leave town in a hurry with an unexpected new companion. A roller-coaster of a road movie, "The Magician" is heavy on both laughs and tears.


CEM YILMAZ was born in Istanbul in 1973. His first comic drawings were published in Leman Magazine while he was doing his tourism studies at Bogazici University. His first stage performance took place at Leman Kültür in august 1995. He has been on stage ever since and he has achieved an unbreakable record of 2500 live performances in the last 11years.

Hokkabaz / The Magician (Actor, Scriptwriter, Director) 2006
Organize Isler / Magic Carpet Ride (Actor) 2005
G.O.R.A. (Actor, Scriptwriter) 2004
Vizontele (Actor) 2001
Her Sey Cok Guzel Olacak (Actor, Scriptwriter) 1998

ALI TANER BALTACI was born in 1977 in Bafra. He graduated from TED Ankara College and Ankara University Communications Faculty. He received many national and international awards, in addition to the first place awards from the Ankara Film Festival for his documentaries which he made two years in a row during his studies. He started his professional carrier in 1999. He filmed music videos and advertisements. He took charge of assistant directing, post production supervising for both Vizontele and Vizontele TUUBA, also post production supervising of Organize İşler. Hokkabaz is his first big screen movie directing.

Filmography: Hokkabaz / The Magician (Director) 2006

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Bes Vakit | Times and Winds


Dir/ scr/ editor Reha Erdem ;Prod Ömer Atay ; cam Florent Herry ; mus Arvo Pärt
Cast Özkan Özen, Ali Bey Kayal, Elit Iscan, Bülent Emin Yarar, Taner Birsel, Yigit Özsener, Selma Ergeç, Tarik Sönmez
Source Atlantik Film Yapim, Ltd., Üst Zerren sokak No. 2 Levent, 34330 Istanbul, Turkey FAX: +90-212-278-19-71 EMAIL: claudine@atlantikfilm.com

Islamic faith dictates that prayer uttered five times every day brings man face to face with his five "phases," or states of mind resulting from the tension of workaday life: fear and desire, love and grudge, faith and pain, screams and sobbing and passion and hate. Since every encounter in Islamic life is said to create new pain—whether that of growing up, growing old or merely getting by—then prayer is the panacea for the inevitable tragedy that is life. In Turkish director Reha Erdem’s sumptuously composed fourth feature, childhood life in a rural village on a mountain overlooking the sea is the incubator for an examination of that pain as experienced through the eyes of three very different children: Ömer, the son of the local imam; his best friend, Yakup, who’s enamored with the village schoolteacher; and Yildiz, who is forced to balance her studies with the household needs of her demanding mother. Their youthful internal struggles play out against a natural backdrop of passing hours, changing seasons and rural tradition, stunningly captured in widescreen by gifted cinematographer Florent Herry. Add to this evocative mix a musical score culled from the works of Arvo Pärt, and Erdem’s award-winning feature (the film earned a top prize at last year’s Istanbul Film Festival) emerges as one of the more thoughtful depictions of childhood and rural life in recent memory. Featuring a winsome cast of nonprofessional children, Times and Winds offers an unforgettable glimpse of rural Islamic life that is at once timeless, out of time and transfixed—like so many works of its kind—by the futile search for lost time.

—Andy Bailey

Perhaps the highest praise that I can give Reha Erdem's award-winning Times And Winds is that it it made me very frightened of ever becoming a father. Obviously, as somewhat recent newlyweds, my wife and I have discussed having children, and I have imagined what it'd be like to run around with my kids, teaching them to play catch, answering life's hard questions, passing on my accumulated wisdom, and so on. You know, the fun, Hallmark type of stuff. However, I've never thought much about discipline, of how I might punish my children for the wrong they but in a loving, truly parenting manner.
There's a Japanese proverb that says there are four things to be feared in life: earthquakes, thunder, fires, and fathers. This fear -- and hatred -- of fathers and their hard ways is the core theme of Times And Winds. Set in a remote Turkish village located high in the mountains, the film primarily focuses on two young pre-teen boys who are always chafing under the rule of their fathers.
Ömer despises his father, a local imam respected throughout the village, because the man dotes on Ömer's younger brother and treats his eldest worse than dirt. Yakup is ashamed of his father, who is constantly berated by Yakup's grandfather for being a terrible and lazy son. That changes, however, the moment Yakup sees his father peeking at the pretty young schoolteacher who happens to be the object of Yakup's adolescent fantasies.
However, other adults also prove to be as heavy-handed. In contrast to Ömer and Yakup, their classmate Yildiz is the apple of her father's eye, but her relationship with her mother is frosty at best. When Yildiz catches her parents making love, the jealousy causes her to break down in tears. Meanwhile, the town's shepherd is an orphan that is abused by one of the village's men, who is chastised by the village elders even as they neglect and beat their own sons.
Much of the film is spent simply settling into the rhythms of this mountain village, and while the lack of a strong narrative might prove frustrating at times, it also allows the viewer ample time to enjoy the gorgeous scenery and countrysides of this remote corner in Turkey.
Much like my discovery of Iran's beauty through that country's cinema, the views here are often eye-opening. There are many, many scenes that are simply worth studying for extended periods of time; lovely shots that spin around the town's minarest of Ömer's father calls the village to prayer, dreamlike scenes of the children asleep in the grass, a gorgeous panoramic shot of the aforementioned orphan as he tends the village's sheep, and so on. Adding to the gorgeous visuals is a an overwhelming score by noted composer Arvo Part, which lends even the most juvenile of shenanigans -- watching donkeys mate, sneaking off to smoke cigarettes -- a certain solemn, elegaic tone.
At times, the tone of the film does get a bit too portentous and heavy, a fact that isn't helped by the somewhat wooden acting of the two young leads. But when things crystallize, they do so to great effect. There's a running storyline concerning Ömer's attempts to kill his father, some of them comical (opening the windows in his parents' bedroom so his father will catch cold), some of them psychotic (gearing up to push his father off of a cliff). And one scene where Yildiz makes a terrible mistake while caring for her newborn brother caused many gasps in the audience I was with.
Unfortunately, the weighty, overbearing tone of the film does mean the ending, which might otherwise be cathartic, is somewhat overshadowed and underwhelming. But as a pure mood piece laced through with introspective thoughts concerning the roles of fathers, and the terrible consequences when they abuse their authority, Times And Winds can be quite powerful and haunting.
Times and Winds
Bes Vakit (Turkey)

An Atlantik Film production. (International sales: Atlantik, Istanbul.) Produced by Omer Atay. Directed, written by Reha Erdem.

With: Ozkan Ozen, Ali Bey Kayali, Elit Iscan, Bulent Emin Yarar, Taner Birsel, Yigit Ozsener, Selma Ergec, Tarik Sonmez, Koksal Engur, Tilbe Saran, Sevinc Erbulak, Nihan Asli Elmas, Cuneyt Turel.

Life is composed of small truths rather than great events in Turkish stunner "Times and Winds," a hypnotic portrait of village life -- largely through the eyes of three youngsters -- that packs a poetic-spiritual punch way beyond its placid surface. Beautifully lensed in widescreen, without exoticizing the simple, rural subject-matter, this fourth feature by director Reha Erdem deserves quality fest platforming prior to niche theatrical and small-screen dates. By any country's cinematic measure, this is a considerable achievement.

Seven years ago, writer-helmer Erdem made the entertaining and inventive parable "Run for Money," about an Istanbul shop owner whose life disintegrates when he happens across a stash of dollar bills. "Times and Winds" (previously known as "5 Times," translating its Turkish title) is equally precise at scripting and tech levels, though very different in its setting and emotional temperature.

Though set in a hard-scrabble, hillside village -- shot near Ayvacik, just south of Troy, on Turkey's northwest coast -- film celebrates not the aridness or despair of the people's lives but their hidden desires and dreams, regulated by nature, the seasons and the metronomic beat of the calls to prayer that divide their days into five sections.

Cross the rural observation of Gyorgy Palfi's Hungarian "Hukkle" (2002) with the deeply spiritual feel of Peter Hall's Brit-village study "Akenfield" (1975), and you're halfway to "Times and Winds." Use of churning, chordal extracts from string works by Arvo Part (including his "Te deum") carry the same emotive power as Michael Tippett's string music in the Hall movie.

Three main characters are all aged around 12 or 13: Omer (Ozkan Ozen), whose father is the local imam (Bulent Emin Yarar), his best pal Yakup (Ali Bey Kayali) and a girl, Yildiz (Elit Iscan). When not being scolded by their parents, or at the school run by a beautiful, graceful teacher (Selma Ergec), the kids hang out in the hills, chatting, dozing in the summer heat or mixing with an older shepherd boy, Davut (Tarik Sonmez).

Omer resents his father's strictures and fantasizes about ways to get rid of him. Yakup, who secretly fancies the schoolteacher, also turns against his dad when he finds the latter spying on the young woman. Yildiz is a young woman in bud, helping out mothering her baby brother but also disturbed when she sees her parents making love one night.

Pic's content sounds like a recipe for boredom, but Erdem's calculated juggling of small events creates an atmosphere of much more going on than is actually shown on screen. When Yildiz has a small accident some 75 minutes into the film, it's a shocking event -- partly because Erdem catches the viewer by surprise. From that point on, pic develops a growing tension of other things that may or may not happen.

Technical package is aces, with the sounds of nature (wind, water, leaves) subtly accompanying the terrific widescreen visuals by Erdem's regular d.p. Florent Herry. Film won best picture award in the Istanbul fest's national competition.

Camera (color, widescreen), Florent Herry; editor, Erdem; music, works by Arvo Part; art director, Omer Atay; costume designer, Mehtap Tunay; sound (Dolby Digital), Herve Guyader, Murat Senurkmez; assistant directors, Gamze Paker, Fatih Kizilgok; casting, Ozlem Sungur. Reviewed at Istanbul Film Festival (competing), April 12, 2006. Running time: 107 MIN.
Tribeca Movie Review: Times and Winds

Posted on Friday, April 27th, 2007 at 5:13 am by: Francisco Saco

The following movie was reviewed at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival:
Times and Winds

Times and Winds 2006, Turkey by Reha Erdem

An exquisitely paced film, Times and Winds focuses on the daily lives of three preteens stuck in a mountain village in Turkey. Reha Erdem, of A Run For Money (1999) and What is a Human Anyway? (2004) fame, paints a magnificent story of longing and deep emotion as we travel along a mythic landscape following Ömer, Yakup, and Yildiz through their coming of age moments.

The three children in the film must cope with their distinct circumstances. Yakup, a boy, and Yildiz, a girl, are cousins whose fathers work together on the fields with their grandfather. While Yakup and Yildiz have to deal with their fathers, it is interesting to see how the fathers interact with the grandfather, who is overbearing and irritable. Yakup also faces love and jealousy, when he develops a crush on his schoolteacher and stands by as his father flirts with her and spies on her. He is angry and conflicted, not knowing how to approach the situation.

Ömer is the eldest of two sons, and is always being told how much smarter his sibling is. He witnesses the greater amount of love given to his younger brother and resents the whole family for this. His father, who is sick with the flu throughout the film, clashes heads with him constantly. Ömer wishes death upon his father and conspires to get him even sicker.

And then there is Yildiz, the most even-headed of the three who spends her days caring for her baby brother and who almost passes unrecognized by her parents. She is in the shadow of the newborn baby, yet deals with it in silence. We follow her walking down the pebbled paths of her village, as she goes about her chores.

A splendid picture on the lives of these children, the film is ultimately about time and the rhythms of the time they are stuck in. The stunning photography emanates rich hues and focused balance throughout. Erdem gives the characters space to breathe, move, and exist. We catch glimpses of the children lying asleep, almost lifeless, in beds of flowers, heaps of hay, and mounds of rubble. With subtle stylization, Erdem splits these characters lives into five different times of day. Morning, Noon, Afternoon, Evening, and Night divide the children’s sense of life and the specific emotions they are feeling at that particular moment. They are unadorned and allowed to just be, as they face the worries of growing up and maturing.

A superb presentation that is very personal and intimate, and yet, by some means, becomes universally resonant. The film moves ethereally, charting a course throughout the lives of Ömer, Yildiz, and Yakup. In a way, it leaves one instantly speechless and satisfied upon viewing. Not to be missed./Film Rating: 10 out of 10

Istanbul 2006
"Times and Winds":
Images for both the heart and the mind
By Antti Selkokari

What is really striking about with Reha Erdem's Times and Winds (Bes vakit) is its refusal to be explained. All it does is to invite us to look again, closer. To look at the world and its beauty with eyes we never thought we had.
Times and Winds.

The film is set in a small village that leans on high cliffs, facing the vast sea, its outskirts laced with olive groves. The village inhabitants live according to the rhythm of nature and the five daily calls to prayer. The central characters are three children on the brink of adolescence. The film follows the children and their interaction with their parents and a school teacher. One of the children wishes for the death of his father, who happens to be the imam of the village.

The boys in the film are shown to be bound by their religion. A strong contrast to the cultural ties is school: the place of reason and enlightenment. From the beginning of the film one can see the bipolarities abound; the images of the lush Turkish landscape are accompanied by western classical music. The music, Orient and Occidentby Arvo Pärt, emphasizes this duality even more. Yet in this piece of art, the music and images lyrically converge.

Times and Winds.

Erdem does not shy away from Islam. Abrahamic religions are present here and that's what makes the film even more universal. Times and Winds does not have to be seen as a religious film, but as a spiritual one. It is the inner life that Erdem is concerned with here. Times and Winds is about growing up; into the film are cut sole pictures of children lying somewhere in the woods hidden under weeds or on a bed of rocks. It seems as if these children are asleep. Maybe they are in the sleep of childhood. At the end, a boy wakes up to full consciousness and the burden of adulthood, which he realizes is crushing.

It would be rather fruitless to pin down all the possible influences in Times and Winds, since nobody, not even Tarkovski or Kiarostami, has a copyright on slow camera movement. And the consistent shooting on children's eye-level could be seen as a friendly nod to Gus van Sant's Elephant.

However, I would not want to ruin Erdem's life and career by calling him a master too early. So many genuine talents are burnt out too fast. The rage with which the media devours the new masters, never gives them time to mature.

Times and Winds proves Erdem has the talent and ability to become a master. But we have only seen the first inklings.

Antti Selkokari

Antti Selkokari lives in Helsinki and writes for Finland's second best-selling daily newspaper Aamulehti and Variety's International Film Guide.

ilm Title:
Times and Winds
(Beş Vakit)

Director: Reha Erdem
Country: Turkey
Year: 2006
Language: Turkish
Time: 111 minutes
Film Types: Colour/35mm
Producer: Ömer Atay
Screenplay: Reha Erdem
Cinematographer: Florent Herry
Editor: Reha Erdem
Production Designer: Ömer Atay
Sound: Herve Guyader, Murat Senürkmez
Music: Arvo Part
Principal Cast: Özkan Özen, Ali Bey Kayali, Elit Iscan, Bülent Emin Yarar, Taner Birsel

Times and Winds is a finely etched portrait of remote village life in Turkey composed of small, meticulously observed moments of great beauty, melancholy and lyricism. Reha Erdem's latest feature is about the bumpy emotional lives of three preteen friends, Ömer (Özkan Özen), Yakup (Ali Bey Kayali) and Yildiz (Elit Iscan), and the ways their families curb their dreams and desires as surely as the mountains and the sea confine their isolated village.

Ömer bitterly wishes for the death of his father, the local imam, who mistreats him in favour of his younger brother. Yakup is blithely in love with the teacher of their one-room schoolhouse, but his secret affections turn sour when he catches his father watching her as well. Finally, Yildiz's mother treats her like a household slave, and the girl becomes disturbed when she catches her parents making love. All three are burdened by feelings of insecurity and the apparent wickedness of the adults around them.

Erdem has a profound and innately poetic sense of the rhythmic passing of time, with each day in the village divided into five by the calls to prayer. His film was shot on location in the village of Kozlu, with many of the residents appearing in speaking parts. Despite the arduous living conditions and the domestic indignities that the young ones endure, Times and Winds is not a depressing film, for within each heartbreak lies the potential for self-discovery and redemption. A glorious soundtrack by Arvo Pärt adds to the electrifying atmosphere.

With a vast Scope frame, Erdem captures his troubled young protagonists posed against the sublime landscape, a deeply affecting motif that subtly conveys so much, so poignantly. Times and Winds is a small miracle: an intensely meditative film about young people's inner worlds.

- Dimitri Eipides

Reha Erdem was born in Istanbul, and studied history at Bosphorus University in Istanbul, and art and cinema at Université Paris VIII. He has directed shorts, commercials and the feature films Oh Moon (89), Run for Money (99), Mommy, I'm Scared (04) and Times and Winds (06), which won the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2006 Istanbul International Film Festival.

Times and Winds / Bes vakit / Turkey / 2006

A single, graceful motif is repeated throughout Times and Winds, offering wordless moments of contemplation with a remarkable image: Pre-Raphaelite portraits of children, sprawled on earth or among scattered foliage, lay in an innocent state of slumber. Interspersed among long scenes of daily life in a Turkish mountain village, these images offer a pastoral beauty mirrored by the deliberate pace of Reha Erdem’s film.

The idyllic environment of Times and Winds is as seemingly uncluttered as the lives of the village’s inhabitants. Focusing on three adolescent children, Erdem cautiously balances the naïve viewpoint of his young protagonists with the more complicated dynamic of their parents and other adults, maintaining a tone that is neither cloying nor ambivalent to the children’s inability to grasp the larger situations at hand. The initiation of sexual awareness is a constant theme, but without embarrassment or juvenile humor; rather, there is a delicate revelation as a young girl overhears her parents making love, a moment that brings her to confused tears, and later in the crush a young boy has on his teacher, as he avoids washing his thumb stained with blood from a wound on her foot.

Darker fixations form between parent and child as another young boy years for his father to die. In almost typical Oedipal fashion (there is no apparent obsession with his mother), the child first begs illness to take his father, then purchases a knife to speed up the process. While the stunt seems entirely youthful, with little thought of consequence, a parallel forms with the actions and repressed emotions among the adults in the film, many of whom share similar aggression. There is a particularly painful relationship between a child’s father and grandfather, as the elderly man belittles his son in a way that indicates years of verbal abuse, made obvious in the father’s physically contorted body language, and his impatience with his own children.

While Times and Winds retains focus on the small details and individual relationships within this community, a secondary theme reveals itself in the narrative structure of the piece; the Turkish title, Bes vakit, literally translates to “five times,” interpreted in the film’s use of temporal chapters. Utilizing Salah, the ritual prayer of Muslims, the film may be divided into five sections dictated by the times of day in which prayer is practiced. There is no indication of a clear significance, yet Erdem emphasizes the importance of religion and prayer in village life, underlining its meaning through the children’s unquestioning obedience to prayer hours, as well as specifically having the ill father hold the position of muezzin, leading the call to prayer. Considering the contemporary debate in Turkey between secular leadership and Islam, Erdem hints at the current political problem, illustrated with the children’s biological studies juxtaposed with the increasing illness of the muezzin.

Times and Winds’ greatest strength is in its minimalism, as well as its patience; the lush visuals and rhythmic flow gently draws us in, as the film nearly hums with the activity of life brimming among children and the natural world. This life however, as it so often happens, breaks unexpectedly, and we are left with a poignant reminder of the rush of impending adulthood and its consequences.

Jenny Jediny | © 2007 notcoming.com

Istanbul 2006
A Panorama of Contemporary Turkish Cinema
By Ayla Kanbur

It seems that Turkish Cinema has revived since the 1990's. Especially from the late 90's, a new generation has had the chance to make debut films. In other words, every year at the International Istanbul Film Festival, we have had the chance to see films of directors who are at the beginning of their careers.

The Turkish films competing in the 25th International Istanbul Film Festival comprised of both the films which have already been screened publicly and the films which were shown first at the Festival. Ice cream and I Scream (Dondurmam Kaymak) by Yüksel Aksu and Time and Winds (Bes vakit) by Reha Erdem were among the latter. Both films were eagerly anticipated.

Cinema is a Miracle (Sinema bir Mucizedir) by the master Memduh Ün, who has been in Turkish Cinema almost from the beginning, was celebrated as a jubilee. Shuttered Souls (Beyza'nın Kadınları) by Mustafa Altıoklar was rather a repetition of the Hollywood thriller genre whereas Whatever You Wish (Sen Ne Dilersen) by Cem Başeskioğlu was an undeveloped film. After gaining experience in TV series Çağan Irmak was in competition with his second feature My Father and Son (Babam ve Oğlum). The film has amazingly been a box-office hit in Turkey very nearly competing with the most popular Hollywood films. Two Girls (İki Genç Kız) was the film by Kutluğ Ataman who made award-winning films. Who Killed the Shadows (Hacivat ve Karagöz Neden Öldürüldü) by Ezel Akay is a brave approach to the subject of Turkish History. Times And Winds is an outstanding film with its compact narrative, and authenticity and won the FIPRESCI award.

Before a close look on Times and Winds, some other films are worth mentioning. Ice cream and I Scream has a corresponding side in My Father and Son by Çağan Irmak. Both films use popular language familiar to Turkish audiences from "Yeşilçam". However, both films also differ from those films with their well-observed small town people, their natural behaviour, gestures and cultural backgrounds. Moreover, the stories of the films tackle political issues in terms of the recent history of Turkey in their subtext. In this way they are separated from mainstream films which contain the dominant ideology.

Aksu, with Ice Cream and I Scream, chooses to tell the story of ordinary people who live in a seaside tourist town and focuses on the impact of global marketing on the local population. The protagonist sells home-made ice cream with genuine ingredients but he has to struggle against ready-made brands of a chain and also against the new regulations imposed by the EU. The film uses both professional actors and local people, which gives a true reflection of such towns. My Father and Son, with experienced performers, popular on television, contributed to the commercial success of the film. On the other hand, the film has some references to the 1980's coup d'état and the changing politics in daily life. Irmak is now a director accepted by all kinds of audiences.

Kutluğ Ataman's third film, Two Girls, is another film which doesn't approach its subject directly. The film touches on the conflicts of two girls with their parents. Although their backgrounds are different from each other they become very close friends. One is the black sheep of her family who lives outside the city centre, rather a slum, the other one seems to be well-off but her single mother earns her living by being the mistress of a rich man. Although it seems to be familiar subject, the film is distinguished by the authenticity of its characters.

Despite there being no apparent common tendency among these three films, we would find that in recent years new Turkish directors are more concerned with uncovering the real, distinctive connections, either in contemporary life or in the history of Turkey. In other words, their intention appears to question surface reality, to unearth simple life stories deriving from Turkey's social structure. If Ice cream and I Scream depicts an Aegean small town co-existing with Muslim and Anatolian culture, these signs can also be traced in Who Killed The Shadows by Ezel Akay. He exposes a multi-cultural atmosphere dealing with how the Ottoman Empire could have been established, points that official history has ignored. The narrative is constructed in a humorous way, in the manner of traditional comedy. The birth of two contradictory characters of the shadow arts, Hacivat and Karagöz, is paralleled with the birth of the Ottoman Empire. The film shows how all different colours of a culture can be formed into one.

Reha Erdem's Times and Winds can be praised for its courage in taking a slow pace, without loosing the attention of audience. Erdem divides the plot into five episodes according to the time period of Ezan. While we watch the inner conflicts of three boys and a girl with adults, the time of Ezan goes backwards starting from the late night call to the prayer. The film presents the pain of growing up; the conflicting emotions, guilt, revenge, jealousy and the inequality in relationships. With its well constructed plot, repetitions, contrasts, parallelism, Times and Winds, has a universal appeal though drawn from specific cultural material.

To sum up, contemporary Turkish cinema, not only in the festival but in general, has had the opportunity to create films with a subsidy from the Cultural Ministry and Eurimage as well as other sources. While television series and TV commercials are the areas to gain experience for some young directors, they have influenced art cinema. The films which are purely motivated or driven for commercial success should be put aside. One side prefers to catch the public with popular language without loosing the socio-political criticism and the other aims to make art cinema in the same critical perspective.

Ayla Kanbur
November 05, 2004
Reha Erdem's "What's A Human Anyway..."
Mavi Boncuk

Reha Erdem's "What's A Human Anyway...":
What's A Good Commercial Film Anyway...By Engin Ertan

The main problem with Turkish cinema in recent years has been to keep the industry alive. To keep the industry alive, commercial success is needed, that's for sure. Therefore directors and producers tried to find new formulas to draw people's attention to Turkish movies. Of course it was possible to imitate the old heritage of Yesilcam, "the Turkish Hollywood" so to say, but people were looking for something fresh and new. It looks like only one formula worked so far.

Nowadays Turkish popular films resemble TV series a lot. First of all, movies have as many characters as possible, played by celebrities (not necessarily actors or actresses). Another characteristic is a loose narration, where detailed storytelling and depth to characters is not evident at all. This approach leads to a structure which is based on gags or sketches, like the one used in TV series. Whilst talking about commercial filmmaking, one may think of genres, but in Turkey genre film almost never comes in question. The new Turkish popular film has to have as many emotions and as many approaches as possible, but not in a postmodern sense. It's not a mix of genres or different approaches, it's just something indefinable, so it will please everybody.

This formula, which brings cinema closer to TV, pleased the Turkish audience so far. But it's easy to guess, although there were a few exceptions, there is nothing to defend. This approach produces movies which are momentary. This is also the case with most TV productions. How many people would want to see them for a second or a third time, even it is fun at the first viewing? And since they are short-lived, these movies are usually superficial, with no statements, no connotations, whatsoever. And if they want to tell something, it is usually done in an unsubtle way. There's nothing implicit, everything is just there on the surface. This is another problem in addition to the momentary state of these films. There is hardly anything to discuss about them. When the experience you have in the theatre is finished, you are done with the movie too.

Yet, Reha Erdem's "What's a Human Anyway..." (Insan Nedir ki...), the winner of the FIPRESCI prize in the National Competition at the 23rd International Istanbul Film Festival, reminded me that there's still hope. Here we have a movie, which is closer to the European way of popular filmmaking rather than the Turkish one. Also there are similarities to the formula I've discussed above, but the main problems are left out.

The film is sweet, very humanistic (hence the title) and entertaining. Due to Erdem's background in directing commercials, it is fast and has style. But style does not overcome content, as in other examples of popular Turkish films. The film is able to raise some questions about gender problems and human relations with cultural references. The most evident one of these is to question the patriarchal image. To expand this premise, three phases of stepping into manhood in Turkish culture are discussed. There's a little boy, who refuses to be circumcised, a young man, who refuses to do his military service and two men, who are refusing to leave home. One of these men, Ali, who's living with his father, is suffering from amnesia. After a while, he is able to remember everybody around him except his father.

Whilst discussing these subjects, the film tries to solve the conflicts between its characters and is looking for a happy end. This leads to a somehow unsatisfying final, where forgetting and forgiving are suggested as a solution. So, even though it could have been something intense, the film prefers to be reconcilable. Still it's not as disturbing as it sounds, because this final solution fits to the humanistic and cute nature of the film.

Still it is not easy to say, that "What's a Human Anyway..." is a flawless film. First of all, it is too long. And some scenes may look too much like a TV commercial. Also resemblances to "Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain" are evident, but one cannot suggest that this a huge problem. But still, there are lots of other things to admire. Such as Erdem's skill with the visuals and editing. He also succeeded in creating a colorful and cute atmosphere in an urban city. Also the film has no linear storyline, but it never adopts the loose narration style of the other recent commercial Turkish movies. Here, the music, the editing and the dialogue hold everything together and give the audience an insight into the subject matter.

"What's a Human Anyway..." is a film dealing with universal problems, but with a national approach. It has the potential to please audiences all around the world. And yet, it's not just about fun, it is also serious in some aspects. Since the statements of the movie are not only explicit, there's a lot to think about it afterwards. So, this is a film which combines good filmmaking, commercial intentions and seriousness. The main reason of the FIPRESCI jury to award this film was to promote a different style of moviemaking from Turkey around the world. Hopefully, "What's a Human Anyway..." will reach audiences in foreign countries (whether at festivals or with a theatrical release) and show, that Turkey can produce young and fresh films as well. Turkish cinema is not supposed to be based on just art-house movies dealing with political issues or superficial commercial movies. We have filmmakers who can be fun, serious and inventive at the same time too. Such as Reha Erdem.
Engin Ertan© FIPRESCI 2004

Film Review | Eternal Themes of Exile
Mavi Boncuk

Eternal Themes of Exile in "Waiting for the Clouds"
and "A Little Bit of Freedom"By Annika Gustafsson

A life in exile and the resulting problems of identity are examined in two vastly different films, Yesim Ustaoglu's "Waiting for the Clouds" (Bulutlari beklerken) and the German-Turkish coproduction "A Little Bit of Freedom" (Kleine Freiheit) directed by Yüksel Yavuz. Both films took part in competition in the national section at the 23rd International Film Festival in Istanbul and stayed in the FIPRESCI jury's discussions up until and during its final deliberations.

Ustaoglu's second feature "Journey to the Sun", 1999, brought her an international breakthrough and recognition. Her new film, with a script partly developed during a Sundance festival workshop, deals with a historical trauma going back to the antagonistic Turkish-Greek relations in 1916, when Greek families had to be evacuated from Turkey.
The film opens with grayish-brown documentary sequences from the evacuation, immediately striking an intense note of desperation and tragedy.

The little girl Eleni flees with her parents and her small brother through bitter cold and snow along the Black Sea coast. The parents die, and after a Turkish family takes care of her, she grows up as Ayse. Her brother Nico ends up in a children's home and is eventually brought to Greece, while Eleni leads a life in secrecy with her double identities.

She undergoes a grave crisis when her elder sister dies and the psychological repression mechanisms begins to crack. Gradually, the Greek language returns to her, and she finally learns that Nico lives in Thessaloniki. Elini travels there, only to discover that she remains a stranger.

Ustaoglu handles this strong drama in a visually taut, restrained style. The maturity of the director's treatment comes across in the seamless fusion of content and form into a powerful personal statement, showing obvious affinities with Theo Angelopoulos's films and, surprisingly enough, even with Michelangelo Antonioni and his trilogy about modern urban alienation, "L'Avventura", "La Notte" and "L'Eclisse".

Despite not being awarded by FIPRESCI, "Waiting for the Clouds" will hopefully reach an international audience, not only on the festival circuit, but also through normal exposure in theaters.

The same goes for "A Little Bit of Freedom". Here the story takes place in the St. Paul area in Hamburg, since 20 years an environment very familiar to the director, attracting illegal immigrants from the Balkan countries as well as North Africa and Turkey. The main character is teenage Baran, a delivery boy and all-purpose helper in a Turkish restaurant. Baran is waiting for a decision regarding a residence permit, while his new friend, Chenor from Africa, can't produce any papers at all when the two of them are stopped and questioned by the police.
This drama is complicated by the fact that Baran hails from a Kurdish family. His parents were killed by a political traitor unexpectedly showing up in Hamburg one day.

Whereas Ustaoglu has chosen a calm narrative tempo characterized by well-composed, lucid long shots favoring reflection from a distance on the part of the spectator, Yavuz, with a style in the social-realistic mode, belongs to a category of directors influenced by documentary cinema, such as Ken Loach, for instance. A fast-moving, nervous camera accentuates a predominant climate of insecurity. As with Loach, there is nothing pretentious or superfluous in the treatment of the material. The drama unfolds organically; different destinies are woven into the story in a natural way and mirror a reality of urgent interest against a complex political background.

Annika Gustafsson© FIPRESCI 2004

Monday, September 24, 2007

Waiting for The Clouds (6:32 min. clip)

Interview with Yesim Ustaoglu on Waiting for the Clouds

Interview with Turkish writer-director Yesim Ustaoglu:

Historical Tragedy and Hidden Identity illuminated in Waiting for the Clouds

by Alissa Simon

Turkish writer-director Yesim Ustaoglou, whose acclaimed second feature Journey to the Sun (1999) dealt with the treatment of Kurds in contemporary Turkey, treats another taboo topic with Waiting for the Clouds. It highlights a little-known historical tragedy, the forced deportation of the Pontic Greeks from Turkey after World War I, and again after the founding of the Turkish Republic. "I have always been interested in the patchwork that actually makes up Turkish history and culture," says Ustaoglu. "When I first heard the stories of people like [my heroine] Ayshe in northeastern Turkey which I know very well, I felt this was a part of history which had remained in the dark for too long."

The Pontic Greeks settled in the Black Sea region some 3000 years ago. At the beginning of the 20th century, their communities were thriving, and boasted their own schools, theatre groups and newspapers. After WWI, Turkish nationalists took power and moved against minority populations such as the Armenians and Pontic Greeks. Forced into exile during the harsh winter of 1916, many died of hunger and exposure. In 1924, the rulers of Greece and Turkey agreed to repatriate ethnic Greeks and ethnic Turks, so another massive deportation took place. In Waiting for the Clouds, the character Ayshe survived the exodus of 1925 and Thanasis that of 1916.

Ustaoglu's script won the 2003 Sundance/NHK Filmmaker Award. It is based in part on the novella Tamama by Yorgios Andreadis, and also on extensive research. "I read many books," she says, "of history and of interviews written by Pontus historians and Turkish historians living outside of Turkey. I also found exiled people who are still alive and recorded their stories."

Ayshe was born as Eleni in the Turkish fishing village of Treblolu. She was only ten when she was forced to flee with her parents and younger siblings in the bitter snow and cold in a forced march along the Black Sea coast. The journey killed hundreds of "evacuees." Eleni and her five-year-old brother Niko saw their father branded a "rebel" and shot, and their mother and baby sister die of starvation and exposure. Eleni's strong will kept Niko and herself alive and moving, until a Turkish family discovered them in the snow. Eleni bonded with Selma, daughter of the Turkish family, and chose to remain with them while Niko joined other orphans in a barracks. When the order came for the orphans to sail to Greece, Eleni stayed with Selma's family, hiding her real identity.

For fifty years, Eleni/Ayshe has felt a terrible guilt over abandoning her brother. When her beloved Selma dies in 1975, the memories of her past life become overwhelming. She breaks down. Her memory of her language returns. But does she dare reveal her secrets? Outsiders are still regarded as infidels, particularly in this corner of northeastern Turkey where intolerance and suspicion reign supreme. In the 1970s, as in the 1920s, Turkish life was marked by great social and political upheaval. The Soviet Union was deemed a particular threat, and Turkish communists watched by the government.

Eight-year-old Mehmet observes Ayshe's difficulties. When a white haired stranger arrives in the fishing village, Mehmet thinks that his accent resembles Ayshe's. He introduces the two and for the first time in five decades, Ayshe discusses her past. The stranger is called Thanasis. His background is similar to Ayshe's. After being transported with other orphans to Greece, he joined the partisans during the war and was then forced into exile. He lived for a number of years in Russia. Now he has returned to Greece, settling in Thessaloniki. With the help of Thanasis, Eleni is ultimately able to confront her past.

Waiting for the Clouds was shot in the same harsh and beautiful locations where the story unfolds. The highland scenes took place in an encampment 3500 meters high with no electricity. Cast and crew carried their equipment along a narrow path and lived in the same conditions as the characters they portrayed. Given these challenges, the performance of the older actors is remarkable, particularly that of Ruchan Caliskur who plays Ayshe. She won the Best Actress prize at the 2004 Istanbul Film Festival. Ustaoglu notes, "I try to choose actors who feel the story very deeply or who have a similar background to the characters in my script. I spend a long time in the locations where I shoot and choose the actors from there. Most of the cast are non-professionals from northeastern Turkey. Others are Pontic Greeks from Thessaloniki. I try to make all the cast feel very close to each other. We have long rehearsal periods and examine the locations together before shooting. For all the non-professional cast, it was very easy to work in such locations, but the older cast from Istanbul and Thessaloniki took their time to be part of the area. They examined the living conditions and even the body language of those living there to be able to perform naturally. Everyone really wanted to be in this movie, and they were ready for all the difficulties which was important to me."

While preparing Waiting for the Clouds, Ustaoglu also made a documentary about another minority population living in the area. She says, "My documentary tells a story about the Laz people who are from a more Georgian and Caucasian origin. They kept their own language and culture, but also have so many struggles, especially the women. My story talks about these brave, strong women who are living in an amazing wild nature, but always keep their strange ways."

What does the future hold for this talented filmmaker? "I am developing two projects," she says. "Both will be contemporary stories focused on the problems of our youth: their wishes, hopes and struggles to change their lives."

Yesim Ustaoglu was born in 1960 near Kars, an area with a large Kurdish population, not far from Turkey's border with Armenia. She went to university in Trabzon, on the Black Sea, where she studied architecture. She worked for a number of years as an architect, designer and restoration expert, but was always interested in cinema. She used earnings from her architecture work to direct several short films that went on to win prizes. The Trace (1994), her debut feature, screened at numerous international festivals. Her next feature, Journey to the Sun, received the Blue Angel Award for Best European Film as well as the Peace Film Prize at the 1999 Berlin Film Festival and swept the Istanbul Festival, winning Best Film and Best Director. "I learned a lot when I was living in northeastern Turkey," she says. I listened to many stories from old people. I also studied the history of art and architecture. I was always interested in the mosaics of our history and culture. It's a pity that once nationalism takes hold, people start to ignore the rest of the cultural elements that belong to others."

Yesim USTAOGLU ( 1960- )

Yesim USTAOGLU 18/11/1960, Sarikamis, Turkey
After studying architecture at Karadeniz Technical University, she completed her master’s degree at Yildiz University in Istanbul. She worked for a number of years as an architect, designer and restoration expert, and used her income to finance several short films that went on to receive critical acclaim. Her debut feature Iz (The Trace) was screened at numerous international festivals. Her next feature film, Günese Yolculuk (Journey to the Sun) told the moving story of a courageous friendship undaunted by political cruelty, and brought her international recognition and success. In competition at the 1999 Berlin International Film Festival, Günese Yolculuk received the Blue Angel Award for Best European Film and the Peace Prize, and swept the International Istanbul Film Festival by winning the Best Film, Best Director, FIPRESCI and Audience Awards. The screenplay for Bulutlari Beklerken (Waiting for the Clouds) her latest film, won the prestigious Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award in 2003.


1984 Bir Ani Yakalamak (kisa) / To Catch a Moment (short)
1987 Magnafantanga (short)
1990 Düet (kisa) / Duet (short)
1992 Otel (kisa) / Hotel (short)

1994 Iz / The Trace
| Turkey
Kemal is a plainclothes policeman investigating a suicide whose face has been obliterated. He becomes obsessed with the real appearance of the dead man.

1999 Günese Yolculuk / Journey to the Sun
| Turkey, Netherlands, United Germany
Mehmet and Berzan, both from Anatolia, have come to Istanbul in search of work and a better life. By chance the two meet and become friends; Mehmet also befriends a young woman, Arzu, another newcomer struggling to survive in the city. The promising new start comes to an abrupt end when Mehmet loses his job and finds himself escorting Berzan's dead body back to a village that no longer exists - having been flooded to make an artificial lake.

2004 Bulutlari Beklerken / Waiting for the Clouds | France, United Germany, Greece
In the 1970s, the Turkish Republic was a country in great social and political upheaval, and its gargantuan neighbour, the Soviet Union, was a constant source of fear and paranoia. Turkish Communists and anyone else deemed an 'other' were watched closely by the government. Intolerance and suspicion reigned supreme. This atmosphere was especially intense in Turkey's north-eastern region which includes the Black Sea city of Trabzon, only a few hundred kilometres from the border with Soviet Georgia. Since antiquity, north-eastern Turkey was a crossroads of Greek and Turkish cultures, and these co-existed peacefully until the fall of the heterogeneous Ottoman Empire during WWI. Not far west of Trabzon is Tirebolu, a fishing village formerly populated by Pontic Greeks. Through one of Tirebolu's elderly inhabitants, a woman named Ayshe, we will learn of one nearly-forgotten episode of the war, a terrible result of Turkish-Greek animosity, in which the Ottoman army in the winter of 1916 evacuated villages west of Russian-occupied Trabzon. Greek residents were forced to suffer hasty, haphazard and deadly deportations in what was an early example of ethnic cleansing.

2004 Sirtlarindaki Hayat (belgesel) / Life on their Shoulders (documentary)


DOCKHORN, Katharina: Dunkles Kapitel türkischer Geschichte
Film-Echo/Filmwoche (0015-1149) n.36 , 06 September 2003, p.54, German, illus
A report on Yesim Ustaoglu's third feature film WAITING FOR THE CLOUDS.

DONMEZ-COLIN, Gönül: New Turkish Cinema - Individual Tales of Common Concerns
Asian Cinema (1059-440X) v.14 n.1 , May 2003, p.138-145, English
Looks at the work of the young generation of filmmakers, born in the 1960's and making films from the 1990's - Dervis Zaim, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Zeki Demirkubuz and Yesim Ustaoglu. Also looks at Turkish films shown at recent film festivals.

TASCIYAN, Alin: Turkey territory focus: Turkey turns up the heat
Screen International (0307-4617) n.1400 , 11 April 2003, p.7-9, English, illus
An analysis of the severe economic problems currently affecting the Turking film industry, and at the films nevertheless emerging. Refers to Turkish filmmakers Yesim Ustaoglu, Zeki Demirkubuz, Dervis Zaim and Nuri Bilge Ceylan

MONCEAU, Nicolas: Confronting Turkey's Social Realities: An Interview with Y..
Cinéaste v.26 n.3 , June 2001, p.28-30, English, illus
Career profile and interview with Yesim Ustaoglu. She talks particularly about her film GUNESE YOLCULUK (Journey to the Sun) featuring the realities of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict through the story of the friendship between two young men.

KHOSHCHEHREH & HAFTVAN, Levon Kh: Face to Face: An interview with Yesim Ustoglu: The Drowned..
Film International (1021-6510) v.7 n.4 , April 2000, p.43-44, English, illus
'The Drowned Culture of The Kurds' - Interview with Yesim Ustaoglu about GUNESE YOLCULUK (Journey to the Sun).

DÖNMEZ-COLIN, Gönül: The journey must go on
Cinemaya (0970-8782) n.44 , June 1999, p.4-8, English, illus
Yesim Ustoaglu talks about making JOURNEY TO THE SUN

KULAOGLU, Tunçay and PRIESSNER, Martina: Suche nach indetität: die türkische filmemacherin Yesim...
Filmforum (1431-7664) n.17 , May 1999, p.7-8, German, illus
Portrait of Yesim Ustaoglu.

DÖNMEZ-COLIN, Gönül: Personal Stories Need Not Be Autobiographical
Cinemaya (0970-8782) n.30 , October 1995, p.30-32, English, illus
Interview with Yesim Ustaoglu mentioning the success of IZ

Interview with Dervis Zaim on Somersault in a Coffin

Interview with Dervis Zaim,
director of Somersault in a Coffin

By David Walsh |20 October 1997

David Walsh: These days films about ordinary people are very rare. Why did you choose such a subject?

Dervis Zaim: Because it's a subject really close to me. I saw these people around. Actually, the main character is based on a real person. Besides, the environment in Turkey, in Istanbul, is so much like this. This is a low-budget, no-budget film. No institution helped us. We produced it with friends, by guerrilla filmmaking, and this helped me to think more independently. The market dictates certain kinds of thinking, of aesthetic production. Since I had relatively free conditions, I was able to talk about this guy, his environment, Turkey's environment as well.

DW: What are the social conditions in Istanbul today?

DZ: Poverty is growing day by day. Turkey is in the process of integrating itself into the capitalist system. It is speeding up. These are the consequences of this process. Every day more people lose their jobs. The level of hunger, which was something rare 20 years ago, is increasing. All these things affect my thinking. Besides, I like Italian neorealism. My aesthetic choices, together with the conditions, prompted me to do this film.

DW: Do you have difficulties with your government?

DZ: This is my first film. Up to now I haven't had any difficulties. We produced this film independently. Censorship is less severe now, compared with five or six years ago. You needed enormous determination to make a film ten years ago.

DW: Is there an audience for your film in Turkey?

DZ: Americanization, standardization is everywhere around the world. People want Terminator. These are the films that enjoy box office success. My film is not successful in this sense. Thirty thousand people have seen it, in the big cities. Distribution is a big problem for me. You know the problem, you make a film but you are not able to distribute it.

DW: American films are everywhere?

DZ: You cannot believe it, in every single theater. Even in small towns. The production level of Turkish cinema is decreasing year by year. Fifteen years ago there were forty films a year made, now there are less than fifteen. If we make that many the press and the critics are happy. Fifteen films is good for Turkey now.

DW: What influence can or should art have on the lives of people?

DZ: It's not an immediate effect, of course. I don't think that people see a film and go to change their lives immediately. This is a long-term process. It takes time. But in the long run, I think people can change from films they have seen. At least I have changed in this process. I am not the same person I was before I started to make this film. There is hope.

DW: What is the relationship between film and reality?

DZ: I believe in fiction. All art is fiction, after all. You have to fictionalize everything in order to give it a truly realistic sense. It is a very complicated concept. The problems of the external world interest me. Postmodernism, that sort of thing, is a luxury for us. Between these two extremes, fiction and reality, together both of them create the film itself. I'm fictionalizing something, but I'm careful not to take it too far from reality.

DW: Why do you make films?

DZ: First of all, personally, I feel better when I make films. I tried to be an insurance salesman. After two months, I quit. Filmmaking in Third World countries is dangerous. You put yourself in danger. I like making films. I like the rhythm of directing, of watching, of writing, even of trying to find money. I even like this painful stage. Of course there are other things, a lot of problems in the outside world. I want to represent these problems, to create these celluloid works. These concerns are integrated into my personal situation and feelings.

Tabutta Rovasata |Somersault in a Coffin 1996

Tabutta Rovasata |Somersault in a coffin |Turkey 1996 |35mm / Colour 74'
Direction and Screenplay: Dervis Zaim;Cinematography: Mustafa Kusçu; Editing: Mustafa Preseva; Music: Baba Zula, Bab-i Esrar.; Sound: Ender Akay; Cast: Ahmet Ugurlu, Tuncel Kurtiz, Aysen Aydemir, Serif Erol; Producer: Ezel Akay, Dervis Zaim; Production: Istisnai Filmler ve Reklamlar Ltd. Sti. / World Sales: Istisnai Filmler ve Reklamlar Ltd. Sti., Eski Büyükdere Cad. No. 75, 80670 Maslak-Istanbul, Turkey, T: +90 212 285 2322, F:
+90 212 276 6276

The main character, Mahsun, is unemployed and lives on the street, staying alive with the help of local fishermen. He steals cars either to find a warm place to sleep in or to satisfy his yearning for high technology. One day, he overhears a TV crew outside Rumelihisar Castle, talking about the peacocks that Mehmet the Conqueror had brought from Iran and put in the Castle, since it was believed that the peacock was a symbol of prosperity, fertility and protection against evil. Mahsun will eventually steal one of the peacocks, but his luck will not change. He will continue to steal cars and be hounded by the police, he will fall in love with a young heroin addict, and will almost drown in the sea. Stealing a second peacock, Mahsun will attract the attention of the media and, ironically, the destitute Mahsun will have his fifteen minutes of fame.


DÖNMEZ-COLIN, Gönul: Tabutta Rövasata
Cinemaya (0970-8782) n.37 , July 1997, p.24,25, English, illus

YOUNG, Deborah
Variety (0042-2738) , 05 May 1997, p.76, English

DONMEZ-COLIN, Gönül: New Turkish Cinema - Individual Tales of Common Concerns
Asian Cinema (1059-440X) v.14 n.1 , May 2003, p.138-145, English
Looks at the work of the young generation of filmmakers, born in the 1960's and making films from the 1990's - Dervis Zaim, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Zeki Demirkubuz and Yesim Ustaoglu. Also looks at Turkish films shown at recent film festivals.

TASCIYAN, Alin: Turkey territory focus: Turkey turns up the heat
Screen International (0307-4617) n.1400 , 11 April 2003, p.7-9, English, illus
An analysis of the severe economic problems currently affecting the Turking film industry, and at the films nevertheless emerging. Refers to Turkish filmmakers Yesim Ustaoglu, Zeki Demirkubuz, Dervis Zaim and Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Review | Somersault in a Coffin (1997)

Movie Review

Somersault in a Coffin (1997)

April 4, 1998

FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW; Outcast Grasps the Bird of Happiness

Published: April 4, 1998

Life isn't any less difficult for a homeless man living in Turkey than it is for someone trying to survive on the streets of New York. Dervis Zaim's ''Somersault in a Coffin'' is a compassionate but hopelessly sketchy study of a drifter and petty criminal named Mahsun (Ahmet Ugurlu), who compulsively steals cars, sleeps in abandoned fishing boats and survives on day-old bread.

The compassionate portrait drawn by the Turkish film makes Mahsun almost likable in a sad-sack way. As portrayed by Mr. Ugurlu, a bearded, weatherbeaten actor with a haunted, hollow-eyed look, Mahsun is more comic victim than social predator. An essentially gentle being who endures a vicious beating by the police (he is trussed up and swatted violently on the soles of his feet), Mahsun is touchingly loyal to his fellow outcasts. When one crony dies, he gathers a group of friends for a sentimental graveside tribute in which they sing, drink toasts and pour wine on the earth.

After learning from a television news crew that a local castle has been turned into a tourist attraction housing several dozen peacocks, Mahsun scales its walls and captures one of the beautiful birds, which symbolize the abundant life he will never have. In the course of his daily travels, he also runs afoul of a local criminal boss and befriends a homeless woman who spends her days nodding out on heroin.

If its characters are intriguing, this cinema-verite-style movie never finds its narrative focus. Key incidents in Mahsun's sad life are insufficiently developed, and the abrupt changes in his relationships remain frustratingly inexplicable. The movie, which New Directors/New Films is showing at the Museum of Modern Art tomorrow at 6 P.M. and Monday at 9 P.M., adds up to little more than a diffuse collection of cinematic snapshots of a colorful loser.


Written (in Turkish, with English subtitles) and directed by Dervis Zaim; director of photography, Mustafa Kuscu; edited by Mustafa Presheva; music by Baba Zula and Bab-i Esrar; production designer, Asli Kurnaz; produced by Ezel Akay and Mr. Zaim. Shown tomorrow at 6 P.M. and Monday at 9 P.M. at the Roy and Niuta Titus Theater, Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53d Street, Manhattan, as part of the 27th New Directors/New Films series of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art. Running time: 76 minutes. This film is not rated.

WITH: Ahmet Ugurlu (Mahsun) and Tuncel Kurtiz (Reis).

Derviş Zaim (1964- )

Derviş Zaim (born 1964 in Famagusta, Cyprus) is a Turkish Cypriot novelist and filmmaker. In 1995, his first novel won the prestigious "Yunus Nadi" literary prize in Turkey.

He graduated from Warwick University in England. He attended a course in independent film production in London, organized by the Hollywood Film Institute.
He also graduated from the Department of Business Management of the University of Bogazici in 1988. He started experimenting with film in 1991, and worked as a TV producer and director from 1992 to 1995. In 1992 he made the TV documentary Rock Around the Mosque, and he has also written a novel, Ares in Wonderland. Somersault in a Coffin is his first feature film.

In 1995, his first novel won the prestigious "Yunus Nadi" literary prize in Turkey.

In 1996, Tabutta Rövaşata ("Somersault in a Coffin") was his debut as director and screenwriter; it featured a soundtrack by Baba Zula and Yansımalar.


1996 - Tabutta Rövaşata ("Somersault in a Coffin") – director, screenwriter
Story of down-and-out Mashun, who earns a pittance working on a fishing boat, but at night has to steal cars to sleep in to avoid freezing to death. He spends much of the time cold and hungry, briefly getting a job in a tea bar, but, despite regular, brutual harrassment by the police, he won't give up.

2000 - Filler ve Çimen ("Elephants and Grass") – director, screenwriter, producer
2003 - Çamur ("Mud") – director, screenwriter, producer
A tract of mud in a salt water lake in Cyprus contains memories of war, ancient legends and clay with healing powers. Inter-related are the stories of four Turkish friends hoping to achieve reconciliation with the past, in a still divided Cyprus.

2006 - Cenneti Beklerken ("Waiting for Heaven") – director, screenwriter, producer

Lola and Bilidikid (1999 ) Kutlug Ataman

Lola and Bilidikid

Dir: E. Kutlug Ataman, Germany, 1999

A Review by Filiz Cicek, Indiana University, USA

Scholars often describe the guest worker/Turkish immigrant in Germany as a mute man/woman, who is unable or not allowed to integrate. I propose that his/her muteness in some cases preceded their Diasporic journey and has been accentuated since he/she became an immigrant. Further, I will argue that until recently, contemporary Turkish-German Cinema has perpetuated this muteness rather than giving a voice to the realities of the immigrant men and women.

This representation of muteness has its roots in the Kemalist reforms started in 1923, whereby the government tried to force the filmmakers to create films that would reflect the idea of a "new Turk" which was supposed to end the image of the "backward Ottoman". This concept ignored the actual realities of the average both male and female Turkish citizen, who remained basically unchanged. It was this population that made up the majority of the immigrants who went to Germany. I will argue that in Germany, the government policy of "affirmative action", which sought to give voice to the mute immigrant, instead "produced well-meaning projects encouraging multi-culturalism that, however often result in the construction of binary opposition between Turkish Culture and German Culture." Thus the immigrant, who was struck mute in his/her homeland, was further silenced by the good intentions of his/her host country. The films, produced with money from the German government, overemphasized the immigrant's victim status and were unable to go beyond the existing stereotype of the "Muslim Turk from the East" complete with the image of the oppressing male and the oppressed female. Lost was the depiction of the immigrant as a modern worker who attempts to adapt to the exigencies of a modern capitalist society and becomes integral part of German culture and economy in the process.

Kevin Robins and Asu Aksoy argue that the western modernity that was introduced after WWI by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the new Turkish Republic, created a distance between the average Turkish citizen and the State. The new Turkish Republic defined its model "new Turk" by their difference from the Ottoman culture because the Ottoman experience was regarded as non-Turkish and backwards. Therefore the Kemalist reforms abolished the caliphate, religious brotherhoods, attire, language, calendar and so on. Thus began the "tradition of discontinuity with the past which culminated in a state of amnesia imbued in the psyche of the 'new Turks'" Instead, they looked towards the West, which represented modernity. Yet most of the Turks, especially those who lived in countryside, continued to live according to their folk Islamic traditions as they did for centuries. Even the six centuries of Ottoman rule, which was heavily influenced by Persian and Arabic cultures and languages, was not enough to change that reality. The Kemalist reform did not either.

But what Kemalist reforms did was to effectively create a gap between its average citizen and the elitist state. The state-run radio, television and later cinema, all promoted the ideal New Turkish citizen as a reality, creating an ongoing conflict between what he/she should be and what he/she is. In a sense, the entire country was forced to play a game of pretending to be western and modern. In doing so, they silenced any elements that did not go along with that image and ideal, thus creating a whole new mute population alongside the elite Republicans.

The majority of those immigrants, who journeyed to Germany for better life, were the mute citizens of Turkey coming from the countryside to escape their economic hardship. When in Germany, they came face to face with the same silencing dilemma that they experienced in Turkey, but in a much larger scale. If they were not able to or willing to adapt to the new Turkish citizen image in their homeland, how and why were they going to adapt to their new German identity?

In Turkey, the government by implementing various censorship rules tried to force the filmmakers to create films that reflected the idea of "new Turk" as a reality, not giving voice to actual realities of its average Turkish citizen. In Germany a government policy, an American type of affirmative action, sought to give voice to the mute immigrant. This policy as Deniz Gokturk describes "produced well-meaning projects encouraging multi-culturalism that, however often result in the construction of binary opposition between Turkish Culture and German Culture." She also states: "the postulate of cultural difference, though it purports to be liberating, has obstructed the perception of the cross-cultural exchanges that in fact already exist, and often hindered dialogue instead of facilitating it."

It is hard to disagree with Gokturk: most of the Turkish-German films from Germany 40squaremeters to Almanya Aci Vatan that were produced over three decades followed the blueprint of Turkish stereotypes regarding such subjects as rape, violence, revenge, prison, hospital, virtue, honour, honour killings, women in domestic space, masculinity in crisis and so on. While such issues do exist in Turkish-German daily life as in other cultures, continual portrayal of pitiful noble victim in these films did little to better the image of the mute Turkish immigrant. On the contrary, it cemented that image and in the process gave the average German audience an outlet to temporarily feel sympathy for him/her but nothing further. In fact it silenced him/her in much the same way Turkish modernism did, portraying his/her traditional values backwards, putting him in an inescapable negative cultural box, without reflecting the greys in between the binary cultural experiences which exist on a daily basis.

But does cinema have such responsibility? Since it is one of the most powerful and influential media outlets in global popular culture, one could argue that cinema has a responsibility to be honest about the reality of the time, people and places they attempt to portray. Cinema could help create a space, perhaps that third space, as Homi Babaha would put it, where an immigrant exists daily, not as a two-dimensional cartoon character of him/herself but as real individual. In this regard, Kutlug Ataman's film Lola and Bilikid (1999) serves as the first Turkish-German film that embodies that honesty, reality, exposing the daily life of Turkish-German's immigrant in Berlin in a groundbreaking way. The irony of the film is that it mobilizes the marginal immigrants in Germany through the voices of most marginal of them all -- Turkish transvestites in Berlin -- to expose the reality of the Turkish-German community at large.

Starting with Kutlug Ataman's Lola and Bilidikid, muteness of the Turkish immigrant was complicated. Such attempts were repeated in films like Short Sharp Shocked and Head-On by Fatih Akin, which are distinctly different then earlier films, such as Berlin Berlin by Sinan Cetin. However, Akin's work has competing ideals that further complicate the situation. For example, Akin's Head-On which won the Golden Bear award in Germany in 2004, is a film about two Turkish-German characters' quest for visibility, quest for third space to exist. Turkish German characters in this film are portrayed rather "raw" as some film critics put it, which is a progress considering other Turkish German films glorification of the sympathetic noble victim characters. The film is more entertaining to the general audience than Lola and Bilidikid. It has all the usual Turkish film themes of rape, murder, jealousy, and virtue, honour, hospital, jail and so on but the way in which Akin presents these themes doesn't quite deconstruct the stereotypes. Rather, he makes them grander. Also, the epilogues that are built in between scenes further accentuate Turkish culture and Turkey as the promised land. In an interview Akin sates that he wanted to create an imaginary space where his two loveable loser Turkish-German characters could escape. However, that imaginary space ends up being homeland Turkey. This idea of "Homeland-Turkey" comes to serve as a space of resistance to German subordination. The option of being able to go back to homeland is a survival skill to most Turkish Immigrants in Europe. It provides the immigrant in identity struggle with an imaginary space where he/she can negotiate his/her identity: namely identifying themselves as Germans to Turks in Turkey and as Turkish to Germans in Germany. However, that journey back to homeland-Turkey usually doesn't happen. This is problematic, since it creates a vicious cycle of a catch-22 without hope of upward mobility in either of the countries. Unlike Lola and Bilidikid, Akin's ending in Head On says to us that there is no chance of visibility for his characters in Germany other than being victims and/or criminals and offers no realistic alternative for third space of existence. This feeds into the German-media's focus on the "hyphenated" identity of the Turks, which stresses the national and religious identities at the expense of other forms of identification.

Similarly in his earlier film, In July, Akin takes his four characters, both German and Turkish, to Turkey, away from the boring summer in Hamburg. But once in Turkey, they end up with partners of their own race: German girl with German boy, Turkish Girl with a Turkish boy. It is ironic that Fatih Akin, who was born and raised in Germany, and who has achieved success and visibility in Germany, sees Turkey as the Promised Land for his seemingly hopeless (victim-criminals) characters. The international success of Akin's two films, along with German media attention to "Muslim-Turkish" born actress Sibel Kekilli's past as a porn star, to a certain degree testifies to the enduring effects of Orientalism, this time internalized by Turks and aided by empathetic Germans.

On the other hand, Lola and Bilikid is a drama that takes place in the streets, nightclubs, toilets, abandoned buildings and the Turkish ghetto neighbourhood. It tells the tale of Turkish transvestites in Berlin, a group of ultra marginalized people both as immigrants and homosexuals who experience alienation from Germans, from their fellow Turks and, at worst, from each other. Director Kutlug Ataman portrays the homosexual community as confused and ambiguous. Lola's lover Bilidikid, who sees himself as a man since he is the one who penetrates, mimics the homophobic behaviours of his fellow Turks. Not knowing he is Lola's baby brother, he advises Murat to never admit that he is gay and never let himself be penetrated. He states, "living as a fag is no way to live". He insists that Lola should have the operation the get rid of his "dick", and become a woman so they can move to Turkey and live like normal people do. When Lola asks "why not you why me" he answers laughingly, "because I am a man."

Lola works as an oriental belly dancer at a Turkish nightclub. He is happy with being in love with Bilidikid and want things to remain the same. He is realistic enough to know that what Bilidikid wants from him and for them, which is to live like "normal" people, will eventually destroy them, because he recognizes that becoming a woman would only make Bilidikid leave him at the end because he won't be the same person that he fell in love with. In reality what Bilidikid wants is to be able to live without being discriminated against and he thinks the way to achieve that is to become like everyone else, not realizing that such self-inflicted imitation would only further contribute to his own oppression. Events take a turn for the worse when Lola confronts his older brother Osman and discovers that he has a younger brother Murat. Lola's attempts to befriend his new brother Murat prove to be fatal, as Osman, who acts as the Turkish patriarch of the family, kills Lola.

Murat, the younger son, who is introduced in the dark streets of Berlin, against the backdrop of the statue of an angel, represents the redemption and hope in the film. After exploring his own homosexuality with a German boy from his school, he discovers that he has an estranged homosexual brother -- Lola. After being beaten by the neo-Nazis, he questions his mother about Lola. The mother, who is ignorant of her older son Osman's actions, explains how the whole family disowned Lola after he "came out." She advises Murat that "in these foreign lands they must stick together and obey Osman as the head of the family as his intentions and deeds are essentially good and well intended."

Murat helps Bilidikid to avenge Lola's death. He pretends to be Lola to lure the Neo-Nazi group into an abandon building. There we see the two radical characters of both cultures, Bilidikid, who embodies the machismo of the Turkish male, and the Hitler-inspired neo-Nazi leader, attack and kill each other. After the self-destruction of the extreme elements of both cultures, director Ataman places Murat and one of the neo-Nazi youth at a corner in the building, abandoned both physically and metaphorically. There, in a state of panic, beaten and bloodied, the two are stripped of their cultural differences, they become human, and they become the same.

It is after the deaths of Bilidikid and the Neo-Nazi leader that Murat learns from his German love interest that it was not the neo-Nazis who killed Lola. Murat next confronts his older brother Osman about Lola's death and in the process both he and his mother realize that it was Osman who killed Lola in order to hide his own homosexual inclinations, and to hide the truth that he raped Lola repeatedly in the past. The mother, who saw herself as an uneducated woman, with unquestioning obeisance to patriarchy, recognizes her own failure and strikes the patriarch Osman in the face. She leaves her domestic space, and blends into the German streets as she tears off her headscarf. She transforms and delivers herself and becomes her own other.

Osman is left in the Ghetto crying. Murat now follows his mother. The mother's appropriation of space is repeated by the transvestites as they pass by Tiergarten and the Victory Column, the same column that Murat walked by at night in the beginning of the film. But now, in the daylight, the two transvestites declare to the Turkish cab driver their identity openly: one of them says, "I am a woman with balls, don't say I didn't tell you!"

On a secondary level, the film explores an upper-class rich German mother and son relationship with each other and with the son's Turkish lover Iskender. The son, Frederick, is very gentle and understanding with Iskender but his mother is distrustful of him, thinking he is only after their money. Iskender is equally distrustful of both of them. However, after Lola's death, he decides to give love a try with Frederick. Also, after a bickering car ride together to her house they come to an understanding on a mutual space of existence. The film ends with a Turkish female's transformation from domestic to public space, second generation Murat's rejection of patriarchy that is oppressive to his identity, transvestites becoming open with their identity, and middle aged Turkish and German men putting their differences aside to become lovers.

What is the significance of Ataman's characters in this film? Ataman tackles the certain stereotypes of German and Turkish cultures. But he does it in a way that complicates the stereotypes without perpetuating them. For example, the orientalist scene where Murat walks into a nightclub is quickly problematized when Bilidikid beats up a German customer who wants to have some oriental sexual delight. The examination of the internal struggles of the transvestite characters, as they interact with each other and the Turkish German society, displays a more nuanced approach than most other Turkish films. Turks struggle to survive daily, yet they mimic the very elements that discriminate against them—the same elements to which they aspire. Such complicit behaviours come from the desire to become visible, as opposed to being invisible if they were openly homosexual men. In the process, they silence themselves in much the same way that the mother is silenced by the patriarchy. As for the patriarchy, there is triple articulation of the silence: first of all, Osman is silenced by his traditional idea of male identity that does not allow him to explore his hidden homosexual desires. Secondly, he comes from a country where his traditional Turkish identity is already silenced: the elitist Turkish government only provides him space to exist as a "new Turk," which requires him to deny his Traditional Islamic identity. Last, German culture silences Osman by keeping him in the ghetto and in the cultural ethnic box, not providing him with the tools and resources to integrate into the society.

It is through the three-dimensional depictions of the individuals in Lola and Bilidikid that we get a glimpse of a more realistic look at the daily lives of mute immigrants, without displacing the problem to one or the other culture. Going back to Turkey is an option for the characters in Lola and Bilidikid, but there also exists a space in Germany where Turks and Germans can co-exist. There is a space where, at the end of the film, transvestites can come out of the oriental nightclub into the daylight and be visible as who they are.

How realistic is Ataman's realistic portrayals of such characters? Ataman, a native of Turkey who attended UCLA film school and currently lives in London, spent two years in Berlin with the homosexual community before shooting the film. His latest project, which depicts the people of Cuba, a shantytown near Istanbul, won the Tate Museums Turner prize. Critics praised his focus on the individual in this project in many of the same terms that I use for Lola and Bilidikid. This attentiveness to individuals is a true breakthrough in Turkish cinema, as this cinema generally operates from the collective's point of view. It is the focus on the individual that enables Ataman to get away from the binary depiction of Turkish-German Cultures. It is through the individual that we get to see a more three-dimensional picture of the collective, and that collective in Lola and Bilidikid at the end consists of German and Turks, not one against the other.

Perhaps then it is Ataman's distance to Turkish-German experience that enables him to reflect them in a more fully realized way. And to his credit, he does it through exploring the most marginal segment of that society without being condescending, claiming authority, and most importantly without perpetuating the victim-criminal stereotypes. Akin focuses on east-west conflict, much in the same way the German media portrays the immigrant Turks daily, yet Ataman is able to portray the same subject as a human conflict.

Films such as these help redefine national and gender identities and the identity of Germany. More study has to be done in the area of immigrant films not only in Germany but elsewhere in the continent in order to further understand and contribute to the ever-changing culture of Europe as an immigrant society.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Bandit | Eskiya 1996

"-çok korkuyorum eşkiya.. çok.. beni bırakma..
-korkma.. önce toprağa gideceksin.. sonra toprak olacaksın. sonra bir gül olacaksın.. o güle bir arı konacak.. o arı ben olacam.."

The Bandit | Eskiya
Turkey, France, Bulgaria
1996 121 minutes, color
Production Company: Filma-Cass, ArtCam International, Geopoly ; Directed by: Yavuz Turgul, Writing credits:Yavuz Turgul ;
Produced by:Gulengul Arliel .... co-producer,Abdullah Baykal .... executive producer,Georgi Cholakov .... executive producer, Pavlina Jeleva .... executive producer, Sener Sen .... executive producer, Eliane Stutterheim .... executive producer, Yavuz Turgul .... executive producer, Mine Vargi .... producer, Ömer Vargi .... producer, Ugur Yücel .... executive producer ; Original Music by: Askin Arsunan, Erkan Ogur ; Cinematography by:Ugur Icbak
Film Editing by: Hakan Akol,Onur Tan ; Casting by:Rengin Altun ; Art Direction by:Idil Akcil(co-art director),Selda Cicek (co-art director),Ziya Ulkenciler ; Costume Design by: Gulay Dogan, Ozlem Sekercioglu.

Cast (in credits order)
Sener Sen ... Baran
Ugur Yücel ... Cumali
Sermin Hürmeric ... Keje (as Sermin Sen)
Yesim Salkim ... Emel
Kamran Usluer ... Berfo (as Kamuran Usluer)
Ulku Duru ... Mother of Emel (as Ülkü Duru)
Özkan Ugur ... Sedat
Necdet Mahfi Ayral ... Andref Miskin
Kayhan Yildizoglu ... Artist Kemal
Güven Hokna ... Sevim
Kemal Inci ... Mustafa
Melih Cardak ... Demircan
Settar Tanriogen ... Laz Naci (as Settar Tanriögen)
Celal Perk ... Deli Selim
Umit Cirak ... Cimbom (as Ümit Cirak)
Riza Sonmez ... Avarel (as Riza Sönmez)
Romina ... Sekine
Kezban Sardan ... Fatma (as Kezban Altug)
Kurtcebe Turgul ... Jilet Cemal
Can Yilmaz ... Hakan
Yurdan Edgu ... Father of Cemali
Zubeyde Erden ... Ceran
Cevat Capan ... Man on the Street
Selim Erdogan ... Cop #1
Hakan Kiremitci ... Cop #2
Hakan Bilgin ... Cop #3
Yasar Uzel ... Cop #4
Yosi Mizrahi ... Cop #5
Konuralp Sunal ... Cop #6
Nazim Sutluoglu ... Demircan's Man #1
Erkan Kara ... Demircan's Man #2
Erdal Atik ... Demircan's Man #3
Suat Tok ... Demircan's Man #4
Mahmut Gungor ... Demircan's Man #5
Ahmet Erciyes ... Demircan's Man #6
Tarkan Oguz Yasli ... Demircan's Man #7
Hakan Sutluoglu ... Dj
Burc Bakan ... Bodyguard

After serving a 35-year jail sentence, Baran, a bandit, is released from prison in a city in Eastern Turkey. The first thing he does is to return to the village he left. But the village has been long submerged under an artificial reservoir. Baran's undoing was Berfo, a friend who had once been closer to him than a brother. In order to snare Keje, Baran's sweetheart, Berfo seized his best friend gold and have Baran arrested by the gendarme on Mountain Cudi. Then Berfo purchases Keje from her father against her will, and disappears. According to rumor, he is in Istanbul. While traveling to Istanbul by train, Baran meets Cumali, a young man. Cumali was raised in the alleys of Beyoglu, his life revolving around bars, gambling joints, alcohol, dope and woman. Cumali dreams of joining the mafia and making it big. He takes Baran to a dilapidated hotel in the backstreet's of Beyoglu. After a while, Cumali and friends discover that Baran used to be a bandit, but they can't take it seriously. For them, it is just a laugh. Cumali's dreams of a new life include Emel, his girlfriend. Emel has a convict brother, who is in trouble with the other prisoners in his jail. His life is in danger, and he needs high amount of money to get out. Cumali promises Emel to get the Money for her brother as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the bandit is going through Istanbul in a daze, lost in totally alien world, with no idea where to start looking for the woman he loves and the mortal enemy who was stolen her...

References:L.G.[GUICHARD, Louis]
Télérama n.2525 , 03 June 1998, p.62, French

J.-Y.K.[KATELAN, Jean-Yves]
Premiere (0399-3698) n.255 , June 1998, p.74, French, illus
Brief credits and review

Avant-Scène du Cinéma (0045-1150) n.473 , June 1998, p.104, French

dock: Eskya-Premiere in Berlin
Film-Echo/Filmwoche n.42 , 18 October 1997, p.8, German

BLANEY, Martin: Marketing News: Turkish delight
Screen International (0307-4617) n.1121 , 15 August 1997, p.13, English, illus
on the marketing for Turkish films in Germany

YOUNG, Deborah
Variety (0042-2738) , 05 May 1997, p.76, English

Yavuz Turgul

Yavuz Turgul

Born in 1946 in Istanbul. He graduated from the Institute of Journalism in Istanbul University. He worked as a journalist for six years then began to write scripts. He won Best Screenplay Awards in Antalya Film Festival with Abbas in Flower (1982), The Agha (1986) and Muhsin Bey (1987). His debut as a director was in 1984. In 1988 he won the Special Prize of the Jury with his film Muhsin Bey (screened at the 4th Boston Turkish Film Festival in 2005 as a part of the 10 Best Turkish Films) in the international competition of the Istanbul International Filmdays and also received the Special Prize of the Jury in San Sebastian. He directed The Bandit in 1996 which was a great commercial success in Turkey.

Filmography (director):

Gönül Yarasi (2005)
Retired primary school teacher Nazim returns to Istanbul after 15 years working in an impoverished village in south-east Turkey. During one of his night shifts in his friend's taxi, he encounters nightclub singer Dünya and her daughter Melek, fleeing her ex-husband Halil. Warming to Nazim, she asks him to be her chauffeur. Halil seriously assaults Dünya in the nightclub; Nazim rushes her to hospital and ends up taking her and Melek to his flat.
... aka Lovelorn (International: English title)

The Bandit (Eskiya, 1996)
Romantic action film about an ageing mountain outlaw who, after 35 years in prison, returns to find his village flooded and his sweetheart stolen by his best friend. He follows them to Istanbul and discovers his best friend has become the richest man in the country. In the city, he is befriended by a young urban gangster who falls foul of the local mafia. The old outlaw soon shows that he has not lost his touch and is more than a match for the city mafia.

Ask Filmlerinin Unutulmaz Yonetmeni |The UNFORGETTABLE DIRECTOR OF LOVE MOVIES (1990)

About a down-on-his-luck director trying to find funding for his next project.

Muhsin Bey (1987)

The life of a dour middle-aged cafe owner who as an aging bachelor maintains his conservative habits and lifestyle, until several new people enter into his life and change it forever.

Fahriye Abla (1984)

Writng Credits
Kabadayi (2007)

Eskiya (1996)
... aka The Bandit (USA)
Gölge oyunu (1992)
Ask filmlerinin unutulmaz yonetmeni (1990)
Muhsin Bey (1987)
Zügürt Aga (1985)
... aka The Agha (International: English title: festival title)
Fahriye Abla (1984)
Aile kadini (1983)
Sekerpare (1983)
Cicek abbas (1982)
... aka Abbas in Flower (International: English title)
Hababam sinifi güle güle (1981)
... aka Bye Bye, Crazy Class
Sultan (1978)
Tosun Pasa (1976)