Friday, July 29, 2005

Fratricide / Kardes Katili / Brudermord) (2004)

The World Premire of Fratricide will be as part of the competition in Locarno Film Festival 3-13 August 2005 | Turkish Cinema newsletter

Fratricide (Brudermord)

Yilmaz Arslan

“I’m a f---ing moralist!” says Yilmaz Arslan.

It has been a long time since we last used the “m”-word, but in a world dominated by Hollywood, it’s good to remind us that there are still filmmakers out there who are driven by more than the desire to produce multi-part, merchandising-driven franchises.

Yilmaz Arslan, whose mother tongue is Arabic, was born in 1968 in Turkey and came to Germany with his parents when he was eight.

Fratricide, which uses the archaic form of tragedy to tell of the hatred, hardened by generations, between Turks and Kurds - an encounter with deadly consequences between two pairs of brothers in a foreign country - has its roots in a planned documentary. “I originally wanted to make a film about young Kurdish asylum seekers,” says Arslan, “but as the kids opened up and spoke to me I realized it was just too hot a topic. It would have gotten them into trouble. But it still boiled inside me and I decided to do it using fiction.”

Failing to get German subsidy money (“Ask them why!” says Arslan), he very quickly found Luxemburg and French partners. “There was instant understanding,” he says. “I got almost a declaration of love for the project.”

As for using non-actors, Arslan says “the film screams for them! I need fresh, young faces. They can’t look like they’re from Germany. The film has to be as authentic as possible; it has to look as authentic as possible. I’ve had good experience with amateurs and if you make an effort, give them a chance, they open up and develop.”

In examining why young people undertake the arduous and dangerous journey to Europe, Fratricide reveals “the almost magical attraction it holds for those fleeing war, or desperately seeking a better life. It’s a privilege to be a European,” says Arslan, “and it’s very important to sensitize these rich countries to the effect they have on others. It attracts them but they still remain spiritually crippled.”

“The world is already divided into a hierarchical structure,“ says Arslan. “The US, Europe, Asia, Africa. Tension leads to war and solving war is an economic factor. Children and young people are always the victims. They lose their lives and perspectives. Right now, there is a small war being waged against small, weak people right here in Europe. It’s meaningless and unfair.”

Yilmaz Arslan was born in Kazanli/Turkey in 1968 and came to West Germany in 1975. He founded the theater group "Summer-Winter" in 1988 and completed his secondary school education in 1991. His 1992 directorial debut, Passages, was named Best First Film at the San Sebastian and received a Silver Rose Prize in Bergamo and a nomination to the German Film Awards in 1993. His other films include Yara, which premiered at Venice in 1998, and Angst isst Seele auf (2002), which premiered at Venice in 2002.

Genre Drama
Category Feature Film Cinema
Year of Production 2004
Director Yilmaz Arslan
Screenplay Yilmaz Arslan
Director of Photography Juergen Juerges
Editor Peter Przygodda
Music by Rabih Abou-Khalil
Producers Yilmaz Arslan, Donato Rotunno, Eddy Géradon-Luyckx, Eric Tavitian, Horst Knechtel
Production Company Yilmaz Arslan Film/Mannheim, in co-production with Tarantula/Luxemburg, Tarantula/Paris, CineImages/Martinsried
Format 35 mm, color, 1:1.85
Shooting Language German/Turkish/Kurdisch
Shooting in France, Luxemburg, Kurdistan, June - August 2004
Sound Technology Dolby SR
Festival Screenings Locarno 2005
With backing from MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg, Hessische Rundfunk Foerderung, MEDIA, Rhone Alpes Cinema, Film Fonds Luxemburg

Yilmaz Arslan Filmproduktion GmbH
Yilmaz Arslan, Petra Barkowski-Arslan
J6, 1
68159 Mannheim/Germany
phone +49-6 21-1 58 29 38
fax +49-6 21-1 56 93 66

Thursday, July 07, 2005


BOATS OUT OF WATERMELON RINDS (Karpuz Kabugundan Gemiler Yapmak)
Turkey 2004 Directed and Screenplay by: Ahmet Uluçay
Cinematography by: Ilker Berke
Edited by: Mustafa Presheva, Senad Presheva
Sound: Bülent Nurgonul
Music by: Ender Akay, Alper Tunga Demirel
Costume Dewsign by: Kostüm Pinar Kesen, Fatos Acar
Cast:Ismail Hakki Taslak (Recep), Kadir Kaymaz (Mehmet)
Production: IFR A.S Altzeren Sok. No:1 Levent Istanbul, Türkey Tel: 212 3247624
Distribution: Silkroad Productions 8 rue Myrha 75018 Paris, France T 1 53 41 4161
35 mm/1:1,85/Colour 97 minutes

Director's remarks: Ahmet Ulucay was born in Tepecik, a village near Tavsanli, where he has always lived. Over the last 15 years he made successful short films, including: Optical Dreams (1994), Pearl is Under the Water (1996), Epileptic Film (1998, Award for Best Film at the International Film Festival in Ankara), Exorcise (2000). Karpuz kabugundan gemiler yapmak (Boats Out of Watermelon Rinds) is his first feature film.

Synopsis: An autobiographical first feature film from Ahmet Ulucay who still lives in the village of Tepecik, where he was born. It's the 60s and Recep and Mehmet are two boys crazy about movies. After work, they spend their evenings building a film projector, witnessed only by Crazy Omer, the village idiot. But things begin to change when Recep falls for Nihal, the eldest daughter of the widow Nezihe. His feelings are not reciprocated, whereas Nihal's younger sister, Guler, is interested in Recep who is definitely not interested in her...

Synopsis 2: The film, which is about two village boys who passionately love movies, has its roots in the writer/director Ahmet Ulucay's own childhood. The story takes place during one summer season in the late sixties. The location is the town of Tavsanli and the village of Tepecik. The boys work and go through romantic experiences in town during the daytime, and dream about cinema in their village at nights. The cast is comprised entirely of the local people of Tavsanli, the site of almost all the locations in the film. The format used for shooting is miniDV which was transferred to 35mm after post-production.

Film Notes: Boats out of Watermelon Rinds unfurls the story of Recep and Mehmet, two young friends of modest means and admirable ambitions. It is only thanks to their evening exploits that the boys can endure their apprenticeships with, respectively, a watermelon vendor and a domineering barber. After discovering that the small local theater regularly discards worn-out film, the boys have begun collecting and, in their own strange fashion (think wooden-box-and-a-lightbulb), screening these cinematic cast-offs each night in an abandoned shed. They lack a projector, barely understand the mechanical processes involved and have only the village fool, crazy Ömer, as an audience. Nonetheless, they are undaunted. Shot entirely on digital video and blown up to 35mm, Boats out of Watermelon Rinds is lushly painted with inspired plays of colour and a keen eye for landscape; it conjures up a time and place far away, but somehow completely familiar. This is an infatuating, prodigious debut and a stirring tribute to a lifelong love of the cinema. (Dimitri Eipides)

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Directed by: Yavuz Turgul
Cast: Sener Sen, Metlem Cumbul, Timucin Esen, Guven Kirac, Devin Ozgun. 2 hours 23 mins

Idealist elementary school teacher Nazim (named after the great communist poet Nazim Hikmet) retires and returns home to Istanbul, after a 15 year term in the poor, forgotten Kurdish-Alevite village in Eastern Turkey. Politely ignored by his children who secretly despise him since he chose his ideal over his family long ago, he begins a new (night) life as a taxi driver.
There he meets a fallen single mother who works as a "singer" in a sleazy night club. He takes the mother and her daugther in to protect them from the stalker ex-husband, falls in love with her, and the drama unfolds.

BBC Review:
Lovelorn (Gonul Yarasi) A minicab driver gets more than he bargained for when he helps a nightclub singer in this Turkish drama.

A minor Turkish melodrama that's easy on the eye but not the watch, Gonul Yarasi follows ageing minicab driver Nazim (Sener Sen), who picks up more than just another passenger when he befriends nightclub singer Dunya (Meltem Cumbul). His grown-up kids think he's lost his marbles, but Nazim wants to help the beautiful young woman and her daughter escape her abusive ex-husband. Things aren't that simple, though, as Gonul Yarasi tries to live up to its melancholy.

"The woman is a rascal and the man is a lunatic - don't get caught in between," warns Nazim's greying pal Atakan (Sumer Tilmac) an old-time cabbie with plenty of experience on the clock. He's not the only one who's worried: Nazim's kids think the singer's a gold-digging floozy who's after their inheritance, while Dunya's violent ex-hubby (Timucin Esen) just wants to get custody of their traumatised - and now mute - daughter.


Wife beating, rape and child abduction may sound awfully serious, but nothing's ever that terrible - or threatening - in this lightweight tale. Lathering the more threatening moments in soapsuds, G Yarasi works best when playing up the comedy. Cantankerous old Atakan steals the show as a bellowing ex-heavy grown fat and old, leaving gifted Turkish actor Sener Sen to look as unconvinced by the tart-with-a-heart storyline as the rest of us. A confrontation over the family's inheritance and an undeveloped political subtext threaten to turn the movie sour yet, apart from a few mournful nightclub ballads, the lovelorn tears seem insincere.

In Turkish with English subtitles.

Andrew Pulver
Friday January 28, 2005
The Guardian

As discussions continue over its social and political direction, Turkey is indulging in some serious cultural self-promotion in this country - presumably to lay the groundwork for future EU integration. The mammoth Turks exhibition at the Royal Academy in London is the main weapon, but Turkish cinema is doing its bit too.

Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Distant proved an art-cinema success last year, but the commercial end of the country's cinema is making a determined effort to cross over here as well - a considerably more difficult undertaking. A few weeks ago saw the UK release of Turkey's biggest-ever homegrown hit GORA - an expensively mounted but unrelentingly witless mishmash of sci-fi cliches - and here's another: an earnest, heartfelt family drama that, despite its two-hours-plus length, manages to remain reasonably watchable.

Lovelorn's central figure is Nazim (Sener Sen), a retired teacher returning to Istanbul after a lifetime of teaching in Kurdish primary schools. He's a member of the fiercely patriotic yet secular liberal generation whose values are increasingly under siege from Turkey's version of yuppiedom - represented here by his resentful children, Mehmet and Piraye. (They want him to sell his property and give them the money, but he can't face kicking out the poor family who rent it from him.)

Bored and lonely, Nazim takes to cab-driving, and finds a new focus for his affections on troubled single mother Dunya: a bar balladeer being stalked by her violent husband.
No prizes for guessing where the story goes, or for sitting through the "you were never there for me" scenes between Nazim and his kids - thereby proving that you don't have to come from Hollywood to whip up a frenzy of saccharine-tainted emotions. But Turgul's straightforward storytelling keeps things moving, and Sen is a quietly engaging performer at the heart of the matter.