Turk­ish film­mak­ers daz­zle

On the in­ter­na­tional stage

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

De­spite the tur­bu­lence and ter­ror sur­round­ing the July 15 at­tempted coup in Turkey, the coun­try’s film­mak­ers rose to new heights on the in­ter­na­tional fest cir­cuit. And even after the failed coup, Turks have continued to win ac­co­lades-most re­cently at the Venice Film Fes­ti­val, where Reha Er­dem won the Hori­zon sec­tion’s Spe­cial Jury nod with his fa­ble-like “Big Big World.” As prom­i­nent film in­dus­try mul­ti­hy­phen­ate Ah­met Boy­a­cioglu puts it, th­ese ti­tles “are all very crit­i­cal of Turk­ish so­ci­ety,” but “they are still be­ing made,” the film fest pro­gram­mer, pro­ducer, and pro­moter notes.

They were un­til re­cently, at least. Now the hope is that the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment’s cur­rent crack­down against writers and aca­demics who don’t toe its line won’t also mean a muz­zle on film­mak­ers and the top­ics they de­pict such as the Turk­ish-Kur­dish con­flict, which has al­ways been a cin­e­matic hot potato. Va­ri­ety looks at re­cent Turk­ish art­house stand­outs, all of which are play­ing in An­talya’s na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

This melan­choly com­ing-of-ager shows from first-time di­rec­to­rial duo Baris Kaya and Soner Caner, spot­lights the Turk­ishKur­dish con­flict through a child’s per­spec­tive. Set in a Kur­dish vil­lage in north­east­ern Turkey, it’s about a 9-year-old who gets kicked out of a school where the na­tion­al­ist pro­pa­ganda is part of the pro­gram. He be­comes a car­pen­ter’s ap­pren­tice and falls in love with his mas­ter’s 20-year-old daugh­ter. “Rauf” pre­miered in the Berlin Film Fes­ti­val’s Gen­er­a­tion Kplus sec­tion to pos­i­tive response, with crit­ics not­ing it was more suit­able for adult au­di­ences.

‘Al­bum’ This im­pres­sive de­but by Mehmet Can Mer­toglu is a so­cial satire about a cou­ple who con­ceal an adop­tion by stag­ing a fake preg­nancy with a phony photo al­bum, fear­ing the so­cial stigma still as­so­ci­ated with in­fer­til­ity in Turkey. After mak­ing a splash when it pre­miered in May in the Cannes Crit­ics’ Week, win­ning the sec­tion’s Vi­sion­ary Award, “Al­bum” has gone on to scoop the Heart of Sara­jevo award for fea­ture film at this year’s Sara­jevo Film Fes­ti­val.

An­other praise­wor­thy de­but, Ahu Oz­turk’s “Dust Cloth” is an un­sen­ti­men­tal drama about two Kur­dish women who work as clean­ing ladies and strug­gle to sur­vive in con­tem­po­rary Is­tan­bul where their eth­nic ori­gins are a huge hin­drance. After pre­mier­ing in Berlin’s Fo­rum sec­tion in Fe­bru­ary, “Cloth” went on to win ku­dos for lo­cal film, ac­tress, and screen­play at the Is­tan­bul fes­ti­val.

‘My Fa­ther’s Wings’

Yet an­other first work getting no­tice on the fest cir­cuit after bow­ing at Karlovy Vary, this drama by Ki­vanc Sezer is set against the back­drop of the cur­rent con­struc­tion frenzy in Is­tan­bul, where work­ers of the lux­ury high-rises have to con­tend with ir­reg­u­lar wages and other hard­ships.

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