Thursday, February 01, 2007

Berlinale 2007 | Riza

Internationales Forum, Berlin.

Riza |Turkey, 2007, 109 min 35mm, 1:1.85 Color 25fps|Written and Directed by: Tayfun Pirselimoglu; Produced by: Tayfun Pirselimogu, Ilknur Akanlar Cinematography by Colin Mounier, Edited by: Cicek Kahraman Art Direction by: Natali Yeres; Music by Cengiz Onural Sound by:Ismail Karadas Cast: Riza Akin, Nurcan Eren, Hayati Pirselimoglu, Muhammed Cangören, Melissa Ahmedi, Fatih Sevildi, Melih Düzenli, Gürbüz Demir, Emin Bas, Turgay Tanülkü
World Sales: Zuzi Film, Basın Sitesi C/25, 34337 Etiler, Istanbul, Turkei. Tel.: (90-212) 265 8658,


Riza is a truck driver. His truck is in the shop. Riza can't work and his existence is threatened. With every possible means, he tries to drum up the money for the repairs and he's even willing to commit a brutal crime to get it.

A feeling of isolation and hopelessness runs through the film. The shabby downtown hotel where Riza lives is populated by figures whose days are marked by an agonizing waiting. Sometimes on television we can see - it's during the World Cup - that there's also a faster, louder life out there. The moment of the act, the crime that solves Riza's problem, is not depicted: the hotel, the people and their longings are exactly as they were before, but every image now speaks, with great precision in the perception of change, of the difficulties of living in sin. With Riza, Istanbul is inscribed on the map of unatoned crimes, closer to Raskolnikov's Petersburg than to Woody Allen's London in "Matchpoint". It is not the living metropolis of bars and tourist attractions, but a city that finds itself, much like the film's protagonists, in a state of uncertain waiting.

Anna Hoffmann

“Rıza” tells the story of a truck driver named Rıza, who works between Adana and Istanbul. Rıza begins a struggle, as he searches for enough money to get his truck fixed after it is broken in Istanbul, as the truck is the most valuable thing in his life. He starts sharing a new life in a hotel with people of different age groups and from different backgrounds. They have one thing in common: All expect life to become better.

Adana-İstanbul arasında kamyon şoförlüğü yapan Rıza’nın hikayesini anlatıyor. Hayattaki en değerli varlığı -ipotekli kamyonu- İstanbul’da bozulan Rıza, tamir için para aramaya başlar. Bu arada da kendisi gibi hayattan beklentileri olan farklı çevre ve yaşlardan insanlarla birlikte bir otelde kalır. Hikayeye giren bu kişiler ve kesişen yaşam öyküleriyle zenginleşen film, Rıza’nın bir suça bulaşmasıyla yön değiştirir. Rıza, işlediği suçtan sonra iç dünyasına dönerek vicdan muhasebesi yapmaya başlar.

Extended Synopsis
Rıza is a truck driver on the Istanbul – Adana route. His truck is all he owns and plays an important role in his life. One day, the truck breaks down with engine trouble shortly after Rıza arrives in Istanbul. Without a source of income, he has no way to pay off the mortgage he has taken on the truck. While desperately trying to find other work in Istanbul, he lives in a miserable hotel. A number of
other unemployed people live there, including an old man waiting for his son, who watches TV incessantly; a young Kurdish peddler hoping for a job in a factory; a gay sailor
counting the days before his ship sets sail for America; and an old Afghan and his daughter-in-law, who plan to immigrate illegally to Italy, where the man’s son lives.
Searching for ways to earn money, Rıza turns to Aysel, an ex-girlfriend who works in a laundry. The two had a troubled affair some years ago until Rıza broke it off. Aysel is not pleased to see him again; and when he asks her for money, she is angry and hurt. Desperate now, Rıza commits a terrible crime. Plagued by guilt, he returns to Aysel, the only person he feels close to, despite everything. But she harbors a secret of her own.

Longing for hope | Director’s statement
Dostoyevsky demonstrated how terrible the stories of so- called ordinary people can be. My fi lm follows an ordinary truck driver, one whose fate and suffering mirrors that of many others in his country. His life is monotonous: eating, watching TV, waiting. Each morning brings another
uneventful day without hope.
Unemployment is the biggest problem facing Turkey. Contradicting official figures, this nightmare continues to spread, and people desperately look for a way out. In a way, Rıza’s story refl ects Turkey’s hopes of one day joining the European Union. People long for a glimmer of hope.
The hotel in the film exists in real life. It is one of many dreary temporary accomodations situated in a section of Istanbul’s old town. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people arrive in this city, full of hope, and some of them land directly in these cheap hostels. Life here is cruel, and
nowhere is it so easy to get involved in crime as in this part of town. Rıza, a typical example of life here, is the victim of his fears and is pursued by feelings of guilt. One of my concerns as writer and director was to represent the complexity of his inner life.
RIZA is dedicated to my father, who played the role of the old man waiting at the hotel, and who died shortly after shooting ended.

Tayfun Pirselimoglu |Biofilmography
Tayfun Pirselimoglu was born in 1959 in Trabzon. He graduated from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, after which he went to Vienna where he studied painting and engraving at the Academy of Applied Arts. RIZA is his second full-length feature fi lm. Along with painting and
fi lmmaking, Pirselimoglu is the author of four novels and writes about cinema and literature in various magazines.

1999: Dayım (My Uncle).
2002: Il silenzio e d‘oro (Silence is
Golden). Hicbiryerde (Innowhereland).
2007: RIZA.

Rıza arbeitet als Lastwagenfahrer auf der Strecke Istanbul–Adana. Der Lastwagen ist sein einziger Besitz und nimmt einen besonderen Platz in seinem Leben ein. Eines Tages bleibt der Wagen kurz nach Rızas Ankunft in Istanbul mit einem Motorschaden liegen. Ohne Einkommensquelle kann er nun
die Hypothek nicht abzahlen, die er auf den Wagen aufgenommen hat. Wahrend seiner verzweifelten Versuche, in Istanbul Arbeit zu fi nden, kommt er in einem verwahrlosten Hotel unter. Hier wohnen außer ihm
und auf seinen Sohn wartet; ein junger kurdischer Hausierer, der darauf hofft, einen Arbeitsplatz in einer Fabrik zu bekommen; ein schwuler Matrose, der die Tage zahlt, bis sein Schiff nach Amerika auslauft; und ein alter Afghane; der gemeinsam mit seiner Schwiegertochter auf
illegalem Wege nach Italien reisen will, wo sein Sohn lebt. Auf der Suche nach Moglichkeiten, sich Geld zu beschaffen, wendet Rıza sich an seine Ex-Freundin Aysel, die in einer Wascherei arbei-
tet. Die beiden hatten vor Jahren eine ungluckliche Affare, bis Rıza sich von Aysel trennte. Sie ist alles andere als erfreut, ihn plotzlich wiederzusehen; als er sie um Geld bittet, reagiert sie verargert und verletzt.
Rıza weiß keinen anderen Rat mehr und begeht eine schreckliche Straftat. Von Schuldgefuhlen gepeinigt, zieht es ihn danach zu Aysel, dem einzigen Menschen, der ihm trotz allem nahezustehen scheint. Doch auch sie tragt ein Geheimnis mit sich herum.

Sehnsucht nach Hoffnung |Der Regisseur uber den Film
Schon Dostojewski hat gezeigt, wie schrecklich die Geschichten der sogenannten kleinen Leute sein konnen. In meinem Film geht es um einen ganz normalen Lastwagenfahrer, dessen Schicksal und Leid dem vieler Menschen in seinem Land anelt. Sein Leben verlauft eintonig: essen, fernsehen, warten. Jeden Morgen aufs Neue beginnt ein ereignisloser Tag ohne Hoffnung.
Die Arbeitslosigkeit ist das grote Problem in der Turkei. Im Gegensatz zu den offi ziellen Zahlen greift dieser Albtraum immer weiter um sich, und die Menschen suchen verzweifelt nach einem Ausweg.

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