Hüseyin Karabey is regarded as one of Turkey's new directing talents at a time when the independent film scene in Turkey is beginning to gain global attention. Karabey developed My Marlon and Brando with Ayça Damgaci, whose true story it tells. Karabey's previous work includes Boran, a short film that explores the disappearances of 5,000 political activists in Turkey during the '90s by merging fact and dramatic treatment, and the feature-length docudrama Silent Death. His documentary Breath was an exclusive look at Pina Bausch, the world-famous German choreographer. Karabey lectures at universities and cultural organizations in Turkey, and his films have won numerous awards.
Director Statement (My Marlon and Brando)
My Marlon and Brando is not a story that we’re used to seeing on screen. It is a story that moves from West to East, against the common current, in a quest for happiness. It is also the true powerful love story of Hama Ali and Ayça. I hope it can shatter some perceptions of the region and introduce audiences to some real, passionate characters. My Marlon and Brando is a personal story that echoes both my own experiences and those of Ayça, whose story it tells. Ayça plays herself in the film. Despite the emotional challenge, she was determined to take audiences on the journey she made herself five years ago.
I passionately believe that if we all had the chance to hear someone else’s story every day of our lives, there would be much deeper cultural understanding. Ayça and I developed the script together with reality intercepting throughout the production period. Ultimately My Marlon and Brando is a love story set against a violent political landscape that is the tragic reality. To me, as challenges in the region continue, it is so important that we do not forget the individuals who inhabit this landscape.
This film blends the real and the fictitious, exposing the interpretive channels shaped by broadcasting policy and national interest, through which we are usually presented life in Iran and Iraq. In the end, our unlikely hero Hama Ali is no longer a faceless refugee from the news but a man who we have come to really know through his charming video love letters.
Ayça’s journey through Iran, Iraq, and Turkey also helps us to witness the meaninglessness of the borders between these countries. We hear the same music and the same jokes across the official borders that provide such a barrier between Ayça and her love.