Friday, May 06, 2005

Ten Best Turkish Film | Innocence/Masumiyet by Zeki Demirkubuz

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INNOCENCE (Masumiyet)
Directed by Zeki Demirkubuz
Cast: Guven Kirac, Haluk Bilginer, Derya Alabora, Yalcin Cakmak, Melis Tuna
1997, 113 minutes

Festivals and Awards: Grand Prize and Best Actor Awards, Angers; George and Ruta Sadoul Grand Prize; Grand Prize Films From South, Oslo; Special Jury Prize, Mediterranean Film Festival, Brussels;
Public Prize, Innsbruck; Grand Prize and Best Actor Awards, Tebessa; Istanbul International Film Festival, Best Turkish Film of the Year; Second Prize, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Editing Awards, Golden Orange Film Festival, Antalya, Turkey; Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Golden Cocoon Film Festival, Adana, Turkey; Turkish Cinema Writers Association Awards for Best Film, Best Director and Best Script

The film participated in various international film festivals and it was also shown at French cinemas. Masumiyet (Innocence) was also nominated in the Venice, Mardel Plata, Strasbourg, Selonica, Hamburg and Vancouver Film Festivals. It received the "Great Award" and the "Best Actor Award" in the Angers Festival, "Great Award" in Paris and the "Great Award" in the Oslo Film Festival.

Synopsis: "Cinema has a language of its own. More often than not, the combination of casting errors and indeterminate plot mean cinema bears no resemblance to real life. But cinema also has the power to be life-changing. A good film can alter perceptions, invoke an entirely new language and provide the same kind of stimulation as the finest literature. To give an example... I have, for a long time, been living with a film I felt compelled to watch twice in rapid succession. Zeki Demirkubuz's Innocence provoked me into thinking about cinema, acting, the world, innocence, childhood, poverty, compassion, conscience, language, dumbness; in short, about life - a life I had founded on personal quest. Innocence will rank forever alongside the girl's eyes in the finale of Tarkovsky's Stalker, one of Mahler's Songs for Dead Children, Vermeer's light, one of Blake's visions, a blue line by Ece Ayhan...

Innocence opens the kind of doors we are unlikely ever to see again in Turkish cinema. And this is exactly why the film should be remembered alongside Metin Erksan's extraordinarily idiosyncratic style of cinema. Demirkubuz is insistent that we understand his self-styled language. Beyond the actual story he tells, he presents the story of how he translates that story into his language. Like all great filmmakers, he uses his language without the least concession to the syntax imposed by Hollywood cinema. The dramaturgical rules that commercial cinema has developed after years of experience are of no concern to him. As a result, you are caught up in a liberation process while watching the film. The film's potent and utterly bewildering narrative style is incomparable.

In capturing memorable cinematic moments, Demirkubuz is rewarded for his intransigence, his perversity, his obsessive love of the work he does. Like the character, Ugur, whose passion drags her unflinchingly towards death, he focuses on his personal obsessions and stares us straight in the face without the slightest concern for commercial success. This is how he has the courage to film the 10-minute scene where Bekir tells his life story - a scene that is sure to go down in the annals of Turkish cinema - in a single shot."

Yildirim Turker, Radikal

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