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)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Yol 1982 | Credits

YOL | Year: 1982; Release: 1982 Alternate Title:The WAY, The TREK OF LIFE, The ROAD
Awards: Cannes Festival Awards 1982 - Palme d'Or
Running Time: 114 minutes | Length: 10251 ft, 3126 m | Fujicolor

Director: Serif GÖREN
Production Company: Güney Film, Cactus Film, Maran-Film, Schweizerische Radio- und Fernsehgesellschaft, Antenne 2
Country: Switzerland
Synopsis: Portrait of contemporary Turkish life as seen through the eyes of three convicts on a week's leave from a semi-open prison.
Seyit Ali Tarik AKAN
Mehmet Salih Halil ERGÜN
Omer Necmettin ÇOBANOGLU
Ziné Serif SEZER
Emine Meral ORHONSAY
Gülbahar Semra UCAR
Mevlüt Hikmet CELIK
Meral Sevda AKTOLGA
Yusaf Tuncay AKÇA
Sevran Hale AKINLI
Zafer Turgut SAVAS
Sevket Hikmet TASDEMIR
Mirza Enging ÇELIK
Berber Elim Osman BARDAKCI
Cindé Enver GÜNEY
Abdullah Erdogan SEREN
Director Serif GÖREN
Producer Edi HUBSCHMID
Producer K.L. PULDI
Technicians Ali DÖVENCI, Mustafa KOÇYIGIT, Nuretin AKÇABAY, Ekrem ÜLGEY, Necip KOÇAK, Seref YILMAZ, Ibrahim KUL
Assistant Director sMuzaffer HIÇDURMAZ, Ahmet SONER, Turgay AKSOY
Screenplay and dialogue Yilmaz GÜNEY
Photography Erdogan ENGIN
Editor Yilmaz GÜNEY, Elisabeth WAELCHLI, Laura MONTOYA, Hélène ARNAL, Serge GUILLEMIN
Titles Télétitres
Music Sebastian ARGOL, KENDAL
Sound Record Film
Sound Gérard COHEN
Sound Studio Marcadet, Paris
Sound Henri HUMBERT, Gérard TILLY, Lois KOENIGSWERTHER, Patrick JOULIN, Charles NOBEL, André SIMMEN, Laurent BARBEY
Dubbing director Yilmaz GÜNEY

Sound Code: Sound

Yilmaz Güney [1931–1984]

GÜNEY, YILMAZ [b. 1/4/1937, Yenice, Turkey d.9/9/1984, Paris, France]

Turkish film actor, writer, and director. His real name is Yilmaz Putun.

Born the son of a peasant in Siverek, a village near Adana, Yilmaz Güney earned his keep as a boy toting water, caring for horses, and selling simits (pretzels) and soda. He attended law school at Ankara University and returned to Adana, where he got a job with Dar Film. He began scriptwriting and acting in 1958, and moved to Istanbul, becoming a popular star by the mid-1960s. Güney directed his first film in 1966, and went on to become the preeminent filmmaker of the era, with more than a dozen more films. His 1970 film Hope, about the mystical adventures of a poor carriage driver from Adana, was a turning point in Turkish film, marking the beginning of an era of neorealism. His 1982 Yol (The road) shared the Palme d'Or award at Cannes with Costa-Gavras's Missing.

Güney wrote the script for Yol while serving a nineteen-year prison sentence for killing a judge in 1974, over a question of honor. The film was directed by Şerif Gören, but Güney escaped from prison in time to finish editing it in France. The film, about five prisoners on hometown leaves, has never been shown publicly in Turkey [1]. Since his death, numerous books have been written about him, and the scripts for all his important films have been published. His films, short stories, and novels reflect his own outspoken Marxism and his preference for outlawed figures on the fringes of society.

YOLDA RÜZGAR GERI GETIRIRSE (2005) -- [Subject of Film]
YILMAZ GÜNEY - HIS LIFE, HIS FILMS (1987) -- [Subject of Film]; On-screen Participant
Le MUR (1983) -- Director; Assistant Director; Screenplay
YOL (1982) -- Screenplay and dialogue; Editor; Dubbing director
DÜSMAN (1979) -- Script
SÜRÜ (1978) -- Script
ZAVALLILAR (1975) -- Director; Script
ENDISE (1974) -- Director; Script
ARKADAS (1974) -- Director; Script
AGIT (1972) -- Director; Script
IBRET (1971) -- Script
BABA (1971) -- Director; Script
UMUT (1970) -- Director; Script
SEYYIT HAN (1968) -- Director; Screenplay
AÇ KURTLAR (1967) -- Director

Note by Erju Ackman
Not at the time of this article but 17 years later in 1999


Dorsay, Atilla. "An Overview of Turkish Cinema from Its Origins." In The Transformation of Turkish Culture, edited by Günsel Renda and C. Max Kortepeter. Princeton, NJ: Kingston Press, 1986.

Özgüç, Agâh. "A Chronological History of the Turkish Cinema." Turkish Review (Winter 1989): 53–115.

Source Citation: THOMPSON, ELIZABETH. "Güney, Yilmaz [1931–1984]." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. Ed. Philip Mattar. Vol. 2. 2nd ed. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004. 955. 4 vols.

Yilmaz Guney's Last Interview

BASUTCU, Mehmet: The Exile & The Refugee
Cinemaya (0970-8782) n.9 , October 1990, p.17-19, English, illus
Discusses the work of both Yilmaz Güney and Tevfik Baser as examples of Turkish filmmakers who work abroad

Cinemaya (0970-8782) n.5 , October 1989, p.48-61, English, illus
Articles discussing the life and work of Yilmaz Guney, and an interview with his wife about him.

AKMAN, Eris: Double perspective
Cinemaya (0970-8782) n.4 , July 1989, p.34-35, English, illus
Discusses censorship in Turkey mentioning the experiences of filmmaker Yilmaz Guney

City Limits (0262-2505) n.276 , 15 January 1987, p.51, English
Notes on a TV documentary on Guney, YILMAZ GUNEY - HIS LIFE, HIS FILMS.

Listener (0024-4392) v.117 n.2994 , 15 January 1987, p.25-26, English
Article on the career of Guney as seen in the Channel 4 season and documentary YILMAZ GUNEY - HIS LIFE, HIS FILMS.

Revue du Cinéma/Image et Son n.399 , November 1984, p.91-92, French

Cinema Sessanta (0392-3428) n.160 , November 1984, p.40-45, Italian
Biographical and career article with filmography.

Technicien du Film (1628-1101) n.329 , 15 October 1984, p.32, French

Cinéma n.310 , October 1984, p.2,9, French

Monthly Film Bulletin (0027-0407) v.51 n.609 , October 1984, p.324, English
Article on Turkish cinema and the work of Yilmaz Guney.

Stills (0263-2608) n.13 , October 1984, p.48-50, English
Interview with Guney shortly before his death, in which he talks of his exile, his period in jail and how this has affected the production of his films and their depiction of life in Turkey.

Cineinforme (1135-3910) n.139 , October 1984, p.8, Spanish

Ciné-Revue v.64 n.38 , 20 September 1984, p.48, French

Télérama n.1810 , 19 September 1984, p.39, French
Obituary with some quotations.

Screen International (0307-4617) n.463 , 15 September 1984, p.21, English
Brief obituary.

Film-Echo/Filmwoche (0015-1149) n.51 , 15 September 1984, p.7, German

City Limits (0262-2505) n.154 , 14 September 1984, p.5, English

Film Francais (0397-8702) n.2002 , 14 September 1984, p.30, French
Obituary and filmography.

City Limits (0262-2505) n.153 , 07 September 1984, p.17, English
Interview with Guney on his films and on the political situation in Turkey.

Retro (0174-3783) n.21 , October 1983, p.43-44, German
Interview with, about his film Le MUR.

Revue du Cinéma/Image et Son n.384 , June 1983, p.16-19, French
Biographical and career article.

Sight and Sound (0037-4806) v.52 n.2 , April 1983, p.88-93, English
Interview with, on his early experiences of film as an actor and scriptwriter and his subsequent films as a director as well as his prison experiences.

Films (0261-8001) v.3 n.3 , February 1983, p.8, English
Guney comments on the making of YOL, and his time in prison.

Time Out (0049-3910) n.647 , 14 January 1983, p.10-12, English
Guney talks about his imprisonment, his acting career, and his work as screenwriter/director, and the experience of making films from prison.

City Limits (0262-2505) n.67 , 14 January 1983, p.11, English
Interview with, on his political beliefs and how these are reflected in his films.

Film Francais (0397-8702) n.1930 , 14 January 1983, p.8, French
Güney talks about his film, which he is presently making in Paris, with French money, le MUR.

Dirigido Por... (0212-7245) n.99 , December 1982, p.16-21, Spanish
Interview with, on YOL.

Jeune Cinéma (0758-4202) n.144 , July 1982, p.11-15, French
Article on his film YOL which he created while in prison and was directed by Serif Goren. Interview with, on the making of the film and the difficulties encountered.

Image et Son/Ecran n.374 , July 1982, p.82-87, French
Article on his work.

Image et Son/Ecran n.374 , July 1982, p.82-87,88-96, French
Article on his work followed by Güney talking about his life and work. Filmography.

Jump Cut (0146-5546) n.27 , July 1982, p.35-37, English
Article on revolutionary cinema in Turkey and the work of Guney.

Positif (0048-4911) n.256 , June 1982, p.34-41, French
Interview with, on his life and work, following his escape from prison in Turkey.

Dirigido Por... (0212-7245) n.94 , June 1982, p.33, Spanish
Interview with, on what forms the basis of his films, censorship in cinema, what attracted him to cinema and working in Turkey.

Revue Belge du Cinéma n.21 , July 1981, p.17-18, French

Framework (0306-7661) n.15/17 , July 1981, p.7-8,9-11, English
Interview with, on the effect on his work of censorship and state control, his imprisonment and how he has been able to continue writing scripts for films and the sources and traditions he draws on. Includes biographical article.

Positif (0048-4911) n.243 , June 1981, p.51, French
Most recent details of his imprisonment, a note on his direction of the making of the film SURU from prison, and plans for future work despite his continuing imprisonment.

Jeune Cinéma (0758-4202) n.134 , April 1981, p.18-20, French
Article on the eight films of Güney which were shown at the Berlin Festival in 1981.

BFI News (0308-2822) n.46 , January 1981, p.4, English
Adrian Turner introduces the retrospective of Guney's work at the National Film Theatre.

National Film Theatre Programmes , January 1981, p.10-12, English
Introductory notes to a season of films to be screened at the National Film Theartre.

Cinéma n.262 , October 1980, p.52-57,58-60,61-63, French
Article on his career and life, and present imprisonment in an 'open' Turkish prison. Filmography and interview with in prison in which he talks about the screenplays for his films.

Positif (0048-4911) n.234 , September 1980, p.46-49, French
Interview with Güney conducted in the Turkish prison where he is confined in which he talks about his imprisonment and the concerns of his work in the cinema.

Positif (0048-4911) n.229 , April 1980, p.60, French
Addition and correction to filmography given in February issue, no.227.

Positif (0048-4911) n.227 , February 1980, p.29-35,36-45,46-47, French
Article by Adrian Turner on the work of this director, his imprisonment and political stance, and one film in particular, SURU. Elia Kazan writes about the visit he made made to Gúney in the Turkish prison of Toptashi. Filmography

Cinema Sessanta (0392-3428) n.117 , September 1977, p.44-51, Italian
Report on the Güney retrospective at the 1977 San Remo festival. Interview with critic Atilla Dorsay about the cinema in Turkey, about Güney's imprisonment and about his films. Biofilmography.

Jeune Cinéma (0758-4202) n.89 , September 1975, p.17-20, French
Article on the director and his films.

Film Comment (0015-119X) v.11 n.1 , January 1975, p.4,87, English
Article on his films and the Turkish film business.

Yol, 1982

Yol, 1982 [The Road]

"Basically in Yol I wanted to talk about the oppression people live through. I never intended to depict it as though the government alone were to blame. At any rate, that wouldn't be telling the truth. Oppression arises not only from the government but also from the fact that in their lives people are ruthless among each other (and that's closely linked with the social and economic conditions of life). That ruthlessness stems from a feudal background that western countries experienced in the Dark Ages. In concrete terms I mean the traditions, mores, way of life and obsolete ethics. When you consider both these forms of oppression simultaneously, you can comprehend the general coercion of the system. On the one hand the social pressure people exert on one another and which is due to feudal remnants and on the other, government pressure from the top by force of arms. Those two forms of oppression are part of a system and we must consider the system as a whole."

"I'm a politicized person but I have a different approach to art. I don't consider cinema as a tool meant to express a theoretical truth. Me, I talk about people's suffering at the heart of life. I'm against a cinema based on slogans, a cinema reduced to the role of a propaganda machine. I'm against a didactic concept of cinema. However, I strongly believe that my art has a political content. That it has a powerful impact on the masses. I owe it to myself to use an artistic language. For political reasons I write articles and hold conferences. But a movie theater isn't a conference hall. One must distinguish between those two different languages."

Yilmaz Guney

At a "half-open" detention facility and work camp on the island of Imrali, a group of hopeful, but resigned men ritualistically converge on the entrance of the main penitentiary ward: first, for the disbursement of weekly mail and subsequently, for the eagerly anticipated posting of the list of prisoners authorized for a one-week furlough. A soft-spoken, unassuming man named Yusuf (Tuncay Akça), dispirited by the scarcity of letters from home, seemingly finds his fortune changed when he finds his name among the privileged list of furloughed prisoners. Mehmet (Halil Ergün), a pensive and conflicted man faces his trip to Diyarbakir with great trepidation and anxiety, having found his marriage increasingly strained when his wife begins to question his role in her brother's death during a bungled robbery. A vibrant and self-assured young man, Mevlat (Hikmet Çelik), finds his romantic notions to reunite with his fiancée Meral (Sevda Aktolga) thwarted when her family dispatches chaperones in order to prevent the couple from being alone. An idealistic and apolitical man named Omer (Necmettin Çobanoglu) who daydreams of his idyllic life amid the lush, grazing open fields of his beloved village in Kurdistan returns home to the chaotic sight of his town under siege by the military as they attempt to root out suspected insurgents in the closely knit community. A rugged, unemotional prisoner named Seyit (Tarik Akan) receives a letter from his family explaining that his wife Ziné (Serif Sezer) had dishonored their clan by resorting to prostitution, and was sent with their son to her parents' home at a mountain village in the frozen hinterlands. Now issued a temporary permit to return home, he vows to redress the shame of his wife's infidelity and restore honor to both families.