Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Turkish Delight |Musetto Interview


Ozgu Namal dreams of going Hollywood.
Ozgu Namal dreams of going Hollywood.
Story Bottom

April 22, 2007 -- OZGU Namal had a dream. As a teenager in Istanbul, she would stand in front of the mirror after taking a bath, wrap a towel around her head and pretend to be a Hollywood star.

She has yet to realize her fantasy, but at the tender age of 28 she is Turkey's hottest young actress - star of screen, stage, TV and commercials. Not to mention magazine cover girl.

Last weekend she received a new honor, the top-actress prize at the 26th Istanbul International Film Festival. It was for the love story "International," one of three fest movies in which she appeared.

"I am so excited, my knees are trembling," the petite, dark-haired woman exclaimed as she accepted her prize at a ceremony broadcast live on Turkish TV.

Said an Istanbul newspaper, "This [trembling legs] came as quite a dangerous situation, as the actress was wearing very high heels." Luckily, she never lost her balance.

Earlier that week, Namal and I, with a translator or two helping, had a pleasant chat at the festival. Dressed casually in jeans, Namal said she still dreams of going Hollywood.

"I stayed in Los Angeles for three months in 2001, and attended UCLA language school. I stayed with an American family. Los Angeles is a beautiful city, and I have dreams of living there as an actress." She even dreams of winning an Oscar.

Her idols include Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Mel Brooks, Pedro Almodovar and French director Gaspar Noe. Surprisingly, she's a fan of Noe's brutal 2002 shocker "Irreversible."

She would love to work for Woody Allen, so I asked if he knew of her wish. "He will learn from your story," she replied. "Life is full of surprises."

More than 200 movies unreeled at the Istanbul festival, which ran for 16 days at six theaters on two continents (Europe and Asia).

Two movies that I saw there are worthy of note: Goran Paskaljevic's "The Optimists," a funny and at times sick film from Serbia, and Danish director Peter Schonau Fog's "The Art of Crying," a sensitive study of father-daughter incest.

New Yorker Tom DiCillo's "Delirious," with Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt, won a special jury prize.

The top honor, the Golden Tulip, was taken by "Reprise," Norwegian helmer Joachim Trier's homage to the French New Wave.

V.A. Musetto is film editor of The Post.

For more on the Turkey Talk series in the NewYork Post:

Part-1 Off to Istanbul
Part-2 Arrived in sunny Istanbul
Part-3 Beating jetlag
Part-4 Defying terrorists
Part-5 Party time in Istanbul
Part-6 Merhaba from Istanbul
Part-7 Ozgu Namal interview
Part-8 Take a lesson from the folks in Istanbul
Part-9 The End

Review |Times and Winds by Reha Erdem

The Times BFI 50th London Film Festival: Mysteries Of Puberty
Film still for The Times BFI 50th London Film Festival: Mysteries Of Puberty
Preview: Times and Winds

Times and Winds by Turkish director Reha Erdem is one of the discoveries of the year, an exquisite affirmation of film as art. By Hannah McGill

If the fourth feature from Turkish writer-director Reha Erdem covers some not-unfamiliar territory - rural families misalign, local conflicts flare and die, and children wrestle with the mysteries of puberty while goat bells clamour and seasons slip by - it does so with sufficient grace and forthrightness to render its content breathtakingly fresh. It is not Erdem's project simply to observe sweetly limited lives or to seek nobility in lack of sophistication. His film is a nuanced drama, possessed of both comic and dramatic force, along with ravishing and expressive visuals.

Human life is compartmentalised in Times and Winds: age, gender and social status divide up the local community, just as the five calls to prayer carve up the day. (The film is split by intertitles into five times of day, and its Turkish title Bes vakit translates as 'Five Times'.) The daily challenges faced by the older children of the village express the transition between innocence and responsibility, the tension between attempted self-realisation and externally imposed definitions. The unconditional protection offered to small children is ebbing away, yet restrictive discipline remains in place. The freedom to make one's own decisions is tempered by the eternal requirement to fall in with existing social codes - and to accept the frightening fallibility of adult authority figures.

Omer (Özakan Özen) is experiencing his Oedipal crisis in entertainingly literal terms: he wants to end the authoritarian domestic regime of his father, the local prayer leader, by way of murder. Erdem's film finds some of its most comedic moments in Omer's plotting (entice a scorpion to bite him, knock him off a mountain ledge?), but retains enough edgy ambiguity to suggest that success is never quite out of the question. Yildiz (Elit Iscan), by contrast, is the apple of her father's eye, but a scene in which she quietly weeps after inadvertently witnessing her parents' lovemaking speaks volumes about the terror and fascination that attend the encroachment of sexual awareness. Yakup (Ali Bey Kayali), meanwhile, sees his own innocent crush on the village schoolteacher disturbingly mirrored when he catches his father playing peeping tom.

Small moments, perhaps, but Erdem invests them with dignity, mystery and humour, while the beauty of Florent Herry's cinematography and Arvo Pärt's score emphasise their universality and mythic potency.


directed by Ayten MUTLU SARAY

Ayten MUTLU SARAY Screenplay
Felix VON MURALT Cinematography
Elvira ISENRING Set Designer
Cemila MUTLU Set Designer
Amina DJAHNINE Music
Daniel GIBEL Film Editor
Ayten MUTLU SARAY Director
Actors: Elidan ARZONI, Zeynep ARISAN, Dieter STOLL

Synopsis:Khalil is a Palestinian who grew up in Algerian exile. One day he has to leave again and arrive in Switzerland where he asks for a refugee status. The steps : illegal entry on territory, asking for the refugee status, the decision of expulsion, death on the airport. The events related in this film are based on a true story.

Contacts :
School: ECOLE SUPERIEURE DES BEAUX ARTS - 2 rue du Général Dufour - 1204 Genève - Suisse - Tél. : 41 2 231 778 20 - Fax : 41 2 231 046 36

Geboren 1969 in Pülümür (TR). 1993-97 Studium des Journalismus und der Kommunikationswissenschaften an der Universität Fribourg sowie der Ethnologie und der Religionswissenschaften an der Universität Fribourg und an der Freien Universität Berlin. 1994-96 Journalistische Tätigkeit in der Schweiz und in der Türkei. 1997 Kamera- und Drehbuchkurse in Berlin. 1998 Praktika bei der SMUV-Zeitung und bei Radio DRS. Seit 1999 an der ESAV (Ecole Supérieure d'Art Visuel) in Genève.

Filmography: 1997 Xerema Waye – Willkommen Schwester / 1998 Kurdischer Zauberstab / 2000 Alima; Das Leben ist wie ein Ei auf dem Stein (co-director, all documentaries) / 2001 La mort en exil (short film)

Semih Kaplanoglu selected for Atelier de la Cinéfondation, Funding

In 2005, the Festival de Cannes created the Atelier de la Cinéfondation, a programme which aims to help young filmmakers bring their film project to fruition.

For its third edition, the Atelier de la Cinéfondation has selected 15 directorial projects from 15 different countries. The talent of these filmmakers has stood out at international film events, and they will attend the next Festival in order to finalise the financing of their respective films.

In the spirit of the Festival de Cannes, this selection gives priority to the discovery of nascent talents by promoting the future of, notably, Pablo Agüero, Hicham Falh and Chrif Tribak, Ciro Guerra and Michelangelo Frammartino. The Atelier also lends its support to the continuation of the works of such renowned artists as Tsai Ming Liang and Bertrand Bonello.

The Atelier provides "bespoke" support to the filmmakers and their producers in order for them to finalise the financial arrangements for their projects. To this end, meetings with film professionals who are interested in their projects and would like to meet the directors will be arranged between May 18th and 25th.

The Livre des Projets (Project Brochure) as well as forms you may complete to request a face to face interview will be made available online at the beginning of April.

Argentina - Salamandra Pablo Agüero (1st feature)
Austria - Serviam Ruth Mader (2nd feature)
China - Blown by the Typhoon Ying Liang (3rd feature)
Colombia - The Wind Journeys Ciro Guerra (2nd feature)
France - De la guerre Bertrand Bonello (4th feature)
Italy - Le quattro volte Michelangelo Frammartino (2nd feature)
Kazakhstan - Native Dancer Guka Omarova (2nd feature)
Lebanon - I Can't go Home Khalil Joreige & Joana Hadjithomas (3rd feature)
Morocco - Entre Parenthèses Hicham Falah & Chrif Tribak (1st feature)
Portugal - To Die Like a Man João Pedro Rodrigues (3rd feature)
Romania - A Heart-shaped Balloon Cãtãlin Mitulescu (2nd feature)
Sri Lanka - Ahasinwitai (The Fallen) Vimukthi Jayasundara (2nd feature)
Taiwan - Salomé Tsai Ming Liang (9th feature)
Turkey - Milk Semih Kaplanoglu (4th feature)
USA/Korea - Treeless Mountain So Yong Kim (2nd feature)

Contact: Site:

Press attache: Anne Guimet

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Turkish Movies Week in Copenhagen

A Turkish Movies Week is also due to be held between May 18 and 25 at the Park Bio Cinema Hall in Copenhagen, according to the Turkish Embassy Information Counselor's Office. The event aims to better introduce the Turkish cinema to the world.

The seven movies to be screened are "Takva" (A Man's Fear of God), "Dondurmam Gaymak" (Ice Cream, I Scream), "Beynelmilel" (International), "Babam ve Oğlum" (My Father and My Son), "Neredesin Firuze" (Where are You, Firuze?) and "Beyza'nın Kadınları" (Shattered Soul) along with one of the following: "Eve Dönüş" (Homecoming), "Anlat İstanbul" (İstanbul Tales) or "Eğreti Gelin" (Borrowed Bride).

Two Turkish movies en route to NY festival

The Turkish Culture and Tourist Office in New York will send "Beş Vakit" (Times and Winds) and "Takva" (A Man's Fear of God) to the 6th Annual Tribeca International Film Festival between April 25 and May 6, reported the Anatolia news agency.

Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff founded the Tribeca Film Festival in 2002 as a response to the attacks on the World Trade Center. The festival aims to promote New York City as a major filmmaking center and allow its filmmakers to reach the broadest possible audience through an annual celebration of film, music and culture.

"Times and Winds" features a village by the sea, with inhabitants living their lives in five time slices divided by the sound of the call to prayer. Three children, Yakup, Ömer and Yıldız, vacillate between feelings of rage and guilt. Their parents, just like all others in the village, perpetuate what they learned from their own parents: They have a hard time showing love, and they consider beating a preferred method of discipline.

In "Takva," the solitary and deeply religious main character, Muharrem, is devoted to the pious observance of his Islamic sect. But his simple and quiet life is thrown into turmoil when he is promoted to assist with the administrative tasks of his mosque. Now he is forced to make contact with new places and people that he is not ready for, and he begins to fear that God has abandoned him.

‘Beynelmilel’ named best film at Ankara Film Fest

Local musicians’ story ‘Beynelmilel’ named best film at Ankara film fest

The military coup comedy "Beynelmilel" (International), starring Özgü Namal and Cezmi Baskın, has won the best feature-film award at the 18th Ankara International Film Festival, which ended Sunday night with an awards ceremony.

The film, co-directed by Muharrem Gülmez and Sırrı Süreyya Önder, was recognized for "depicting a very important period in Turkey's history from a certain distance, with irony and with a black comedy approach, and for carrying an extremely local topic to international ground," the festival's organizers said in a written statement Saturday.

"Beynelmilel" centers on the tragicomic stories of a group of local musicians in the southeastern province of Adıyaman in the turbulent 1980s. The film also brought one of its co-directors, Önder, the best screenplay award.

The festival, sponsored by Limak Holding and organized by the Ankara-based World Mass Media Research Foundation, screened 276 films in 10 days with a majority of its program consisting of shorts. Winners of the shorts and documentary categories were also announced, with Mehmet Selçuk Bilge's "Mr. Unhappy Meets the Girl," "Mr. Unhappy Sees a Doctor" getting the best fiction; Yasemin Aydın's "Suret" getting the best experimental short film; and Ayçe Kartal's "Beyinsiz" getting the best animated short film prize. The selection committee awarded R. Nazım Ulusoy's short film "Yır-tık" a special prize, the statement said.

Director Yüksel Aksu's debut feature "Dondurmam Gaymak" (Ice Cream, I Scream), which was Turkey's entry at this year's Oscars, won the Mahmut Tali Öngören special prize while the best director award went to Zeki Demirkubuz for his feature-film "Kader" (Destiny). The film brought two more awards to its cast members, with Vildan Atasever winning best actress and Müge Ulusoy winning best supporting actress awards.

The best actor prize went to veteran actor Haluk Bilginer for his role in the movie "Polis" (Police). The best supporting actor award went to another heavyweight, İlyas Salman, for his role in "Sis ve Gece" (Fog and the Night). "Sis ve Gece" also brought the best director of photography award to Gökhan Atılmış. The best soundtrack award went to Rahman Altın for the music he composed for "Cenneti Beklerken" (Waiting for Heaven), directed by Derviş Zaim.

The festival's selection committee, presided over by screenwriter Emine Nevin Cangür, consisted of director Tunç Başaran, academic Nejat Ulusay, film critic and cinema historian Agah Özgüç and actor Cengiz Korucu.

The festival's big winner "Beynelmilel" is set to compete in this year's Moscow International Film Festival on June 21-30. It will also be screened at the 30th Montreal World Film Festival in Canada.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Awards of The 26th International Istanbul Film Festival

Awards of The 26th International Istanbul Film Festival
* The GOLDEN TULIP Award to "REPRISE" directed by Joachim Trier (Norway)

* The SPECIAL PRIZE of the Jury to "DELIRIOUS"Tom Dicillo (USA) directed by


The National Jury of the 26th International Istanbul Film Festival presided over by Ferzan Özpetek (Turkey), and composed of Klaus Eder (Germany), Mehmet Günsür (Turkey), Yıldırım Türker (Turkey) and Işıl Yücesoy (Turkey) has decided to give:

* The BEST TURKISH FILM OF THE YEAR Award to "İKLİMLER / CLIMATES" directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan

* The BEST DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR Award to ZEKİ DEMİRKUBUZ for his film "Kader / Destiny"

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey gave a monetary prize of 50.000 YTL to each of the above-mentioned winners.
* The BEST ACTRESS Award to ÖZGÜ NAMAL for her performance in "Beynelmilel / International"

* The BEST ACTOR Award has been shared between ERKAN CAN for his performance in "Takva / Takva A Man's Fear of God" and UFUK BAYRAKTAR for his performance in "Kader / Destiny"

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey gave a monetary prize of 10.000 YTL to each of the above-mentioned winners.

* The SPECIAL PRIZE OF THE JURY went to "BEYNELMİLEL / INTERNATIONAL" by Sırrı Süreyya Önder & Muharrem Gülmez


The FACE Award (Film Award of the Council of Europe) is given to the film that best reflects the Council's values of respect for human rights, individual freedom, political liberty and the rule of law. The award includes a sculpture in bronze and a cash prize of 10.000 Euros. It is awarded as part of the Human Rights in Cinema section of the festival. The Human Rights Jury of the 26th International İstanbul Film Festival is composed of Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni (Italy), Philippe Boillat (Switzerland) and Turgut Tarhanlı (Turkey).

* The Jury decided to give the award to "BAMAKO / THE COURT" by Abderrahmane Sissako (Mali)


The FIPRESCI Jury of the 26th International Istanbul Film Festival presided over by Miguel Somsen (Portugal), and composed of Cüneyt Cebenoyan (Turkey), Katharina Dockhorn (Germany), Marina Drozdova (Poland), Nathan Lee (USA) and Uygar Şirin (Turkey), gave:

* The FIPRESCI Award in the International Competition to "KUNSTEN AT GRAEDE I KOR / THE ART OF CRYING" by Peter Schønau Fog (Denmark), for telling the story of a family with secrets everybody knows about but nobody speaks about it, balancing comedy and tragedy. You will never feel detached by this intense portrait of a Danish family, seen through the innocent point of view of a child.

* The FIPRESCI Award in the National Competition, in memory of Onat Kutlar, went to "KADER / DESTINY" directed by Zeki Demirkubuz, for being a story that finds a strong cinematic language to explore the nature of existence and irrationality. Taking the form of a downward spiral, the film is both a perverse anti-romance and a study of obsession.

As in the previous years, Efes Pilsen has given a prize of US$ 30.000 to the winner of the Onat Kutlar Prize, Zeki Demirkubuz, to be used for his next film project.


PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS sponsored by the Radikal Newspaper and determined by the votes of the Festival audience, are given to:

* "NIWEMANG / HALF MOON" by Bahman Ghobadi (Iran) in the International Competition, and "İKLİMLER / CLIMATES" by Nuri Bilge Ceylan in the National Competition.

Festival Review Great 'Climates' at Istanbul fest
Director Demirkubuz fulfills 'Destiny'


ISTANBUL -- Two of Turkey's best-known directors came away the big winners at the Intl. Istanbul Film Festival, which wrapped its 26th edition Saturday.

In the National Competition, a jury led by Italian-based Turkish helmer Ferzan Ozpetek awarded Nuri Bilge Ceylan's "Climates" best film, while Zeki Demirkubuz copped best director for "Destiny." Latter film also won the Fipresci award and shared the actor prize

Both pics -- existential dramas centered on male protags' obsessive problems with women -- also shared the top prizes at Turkey's Antalya fest last fall. "Climates" won a Fipresci award at Cannes last year.

Prizes hardly reflected the diversity and depth of current Turkish cinema, which is on its biggest high in decades. Last year, of the 212 pics released in the country, 34 were Turkish and they accounted for a massive 51% of the nation's total box office tally.

The 21 features in the National Competition showed a wide range of subjects (including a revived interest in stories set during the '80s military junta), as well as much-improved technical and commercial smarts. Like Bollywood movies, Turkish pics now profit considerably from overseas distribution to ethnic communities, both in Europe and North America. Increased revenues are now being funneled back into bigger production budgets.

Other local films favored by foreign observers included "International," an ironic comedy set in a small town during the junta, wacky cop drama-cum-genre riff "Police," slick psychothriller "The Little Apocalypse," crowdpleasing village dramedy "Adam & the Devil," and sumptuously lensed drama "Bliss," one of three movies showcasing rising young actress Ozgu Namal.

New IIFF director Azize Tan assembled a strong program heavy on tributes to filmmakers such as Gus Van Sant, and an international competition praised at the closing ceremony by British director Michael Radford, jury prexy.

Radford and the five other jurors, including Demirkubuz, Icelandic director Dagur Kari and German thesp Udo Kier, gave the top Golden Tulip Award to Norwegian dramedy "Reprise," a first feature by Joachim Trier, and special prize of the jury to Tom Di Cillo's Gotham paparazzi comedy "Delirious," with Steve Buscemi.

Aside from Van Sant and Di Cillo, other notables who jetted in included Paul Schrader (for an honorary gong) and South Korean helmer Park Chan-wook.

Fest, which ran March 31-April 15, still labors under poor screening conditions in the city's crowded Beyoglu district but, per Tan, admissions were up more than 10% vs. last year, tallying 170,000 tickets sold.Climates / N.B. Ceylan and Zeynep Özbatur Destiny / Zeki Demirkubuz