Saturday, August 30, 2008

2008 Sarajevo Film Festival | Autumn (Sonbahar) by Ozcan Alper


Turkey/Germany, 2008, colour, 106 mins

* Director/Screenplay: Özcan Alper
* Photography: Feza Çaldiran
* Editor: Thomas Balkenhol
* Art Director: Canan Çayir
* Sound: Mohammed Mokhtari
* Music: Yuri Rydahencko, Ayşenur Kolivar, Sumru Agiryürüyen
* Producers: F. Serkan Acar
* Production Company: Kuzey Film Production
* Cast: Onur Saylak, Raife Yenigül, Megi Kobaladze, Serkan Keskin, Nino Lejava, Sibel Öz, Cihan Çamkerten, Serhan Pir, Yaşar Güven

There were two films playing in the 2008 Sarajevo Film Festival revolving around the subject of a recently released convict trying and largely failing to resume a normal life - the other was Thanos Anastopoulos’ Correction (διόρθωση, Greece, 2007). Of the two, Özcan Alper’s feature debut Autumn was the more accomplished work, not least thanks to Feza Çaldiran’s ravishing landscape photography ensuring that there was plenty to look at even when the narrative ran out of steam in the final act.

The film begins with Yusuf’s release from prison, having spent ten years behind bars for his involvement in political protests while at university. He’s released on health grounds, and we’re told at the start that his lungs are barely functioning, signalling in advance that the events of the film will merely be a brief coda to a short life, a third of which was spent incarcerated. He moves back in with his elderly mother in a remote village in the mountainous region of eastern Turkey, and rapidly discovers that aside from the young schoolboy Onur (with whom he strikes up a brief rapport over the latter’s maths homework: Yusuf was a promising mathematician before fate intervened), virtually all the local inhabitants are from his mother’s generation due to the lack of opportunities, and he’s warned that if he stays with them he’ll become like them.

But despite an apparent job offer from his friend Cihan’s magazine, Yusuf does indeed stay with them, his mindset demonstrated by him tuning out the chatter of fellow villagers awaiting a minibus to stare at a slug on the ground (he later claims that everything moves too fast for him outside prison). His old friend Mikahil lives nearby, and attempts to liven things up by taking him out for the evening with two Georgian prostitutes, Maria and Eka, but instead Yusuf ends up having a long heart-to-heart with Eka about her own life as a single mother to a four-year-old girl.

Both similarly damaged by circumstances outside their control, Yusuf and Eka seem made for each other, but the distance between them seems unbridgeable by psychological issues that he can’t put into words, and which she lacks the Turkish to express (a revealing post-lovemaking shot sees them both curled up in a foetal position, simultaneously close and distant). He tries to take up music again after restoring a set of Turkish bagpipes, but his lungs aren’t up to the job - and it’s only a seemingly ill-advised trip to the top of the mountain accompanied by a reluctant Mikahil that gives him any kind of fulfilment.

Hints of Yusuf’s experience in prison are conveyed through brief video footage (random flashbacks can be triggered by anything, even slippered feet on a carpet take on the sound of hobnails on concrete) and overheard television news items about dangerous and insanitary conditions, but Alper generally eschews direct political comment - the only details of Yusuf’s “crime” are conveyed via cryptic one-liners delivered by others: he “wanted socialism”, he “got mixed up in this anarchist business”. While inside, his father died and his sister married and moved away, meaning that Yusuf becomes the primary focus of his mother’s life, and subjected to yet more pressure to marry and settle down.

But the narrative content generally plays second fiddle to some gorgeous images, usually framing Yusuf against the flora and fauna of the village hills. Autumn is signalled by a single yellow leaf drifting past a wooden window frame, and encroaching winter by a fog-blanket settling lower and lower down the slopes. A late encounter between Yusuf and Eka becomes a study in shades of blue, a funeral sees a red coffin carried along a snow-blown mountain path, while a beach encounter at sunset sees the screen split into three strips: deep orange sky, reflected by the texture of the water, the shore in the foreground almost black.

Towards the end, Alper overdoes it somewhat - a scene where Eka complains that Yusuf is like a character from a Russian novel feels like a scriptwriter’s contrivance, and a shot of Yusuf standing on a platform looking out to sea as the waves crash around him would be overwrought even without the swelling orchestral music - though this upping of the visual melodrama is possibly in self-conscious compensation for the fact that the narrative has almost entirely fizzled out by this stage. But for a debut, it’s a very promising piece of work, and it’ll be interesting to see where Alper goes from here.

Posted on 21st August 2008

Montreal 08 | AUTUMN/SONBAHAR by Özcan Alper

Focus on World Cinema
Turkey 2008 / Colour / 106 min

Director :Özcan Alper
Script :Özcan Alper
Photography :Feza Çaldiran
Editor :Thomas Balkenhol
Cast :Onur Saylak, Megi Koboladze, Serkan Keskin, Raife Yenigül, Nino Lejava

Sentenced to jail in 1997 as a university student aged 22, Yusuf is released on health grounds 10 years later. He returns to his village in the Black Sea region, where he's welcomed only by his sick and elderly mother. It turns out that his father died while he was in jail and his older sister got married and moved away to the city. Economic factors mean that it's almost exclusively old people who live in the mountain villages, and the only person Yusuf sees is his childhood friend Mikhail. As autumn slowly gives way to winter, Yusuf meets Eka, a beautiful Georgian hooker. Neither the timing nor circumstances are right for these two people from different worlds. For all that, love becomes a final desperate attempt to grasp life and elude loneliness.

Özcan Alper
Born in Artvin, Turkey, in 1975, Özcan Alper studied physics and history of science at the University of Istanbul. Since 1997 he has been working as assistant director and production manager on a variety of productions. He directed a short fiction, Grandmother (2001), and two short documentaries, Voyage in the Time With a Scientist (2002) and Rhapsody and Melancholy in Tokai City (2005).

Montreal 08 | DOT by Dervis Zaim

NOKTA/DOT by Dervis Zaim
Focus on World Cinema
Turkey 2008 / Colour / 80 min

Director :Dervis Zaim
Script :Dervis Zaim
Photography :Ercan Yilma

Cast :
Mehmet Ali, Berhat Kilia, Sether Tanriógen

Ahmet decides to help his friend Selim sell a rare 13th century Koran owned by his family. He puts Selim into contact with the local mafia, who promptly kidnap him and request the Koran as ransom from Selim's father, Veli Hoca. Hoca pays the ransom but when the dust from the shady affair has settled both Selim and the gangsters lie dead. Now Ahmet would like to make amends for his involvement in the crime. He tries to track down Selim's family but learns that Mr. Hoca is dead. Ahmet is racked by remorse but he can't find a way of exorcising his ghosts. He tries Selim's uncle, Humdallah...

Dervis Zaim
Born in Famagusta, Cyprus in 1964, Dervis Zaim graduated from Warwick University in England and studied film production in London. In 1995, his first novel, Ares in Wonderland, won the prestigious Yunus Nadi literary prize in Turkey. A year later he made an auspicious debut as a director with SOMERSAULT IN A COFFIN. Among his other films: ELEPHANTS AND GRASS (2000), MUD (2003), WAITING FOR HEAVEN (2006).

Montreal 08 | SHADOW by Mehmet Güreli

SHADOW by Mehmet Güreli

Focus on World Cinema
2008 / Colour / 113 min

Director :
Mehmet Güreli
Script :
Nilgün Önes
Photography :
Ahmet Sesigürgil
Editor :
Ulas Cihan Simsek
Cast :
Görkem Yeltan, Serkan Ercan, Kaan Çakir, Memet Ali Alabor

Halim, a poet, is an old friend of Nevzat and who lives in Ankara with his wife and child. He comes to Istanbul because of his mother's illness. Nevzat, meanwhile, plans to marry Selma, the woman he loves. When Halim comes to visit, he introduces him to Selma. But there is a mystery about her: Selma's father, two husbands and a housekeeper have all mysteriously committed suicide. Halim and Selma take to each and Nevzat becomes jealous. They break their friendship and while Nevzat becomes estranged from Selma, Halim becomes more friendly and they fall in love. Halim cares about nothing else. Then Nevzat gets shocking news: Halim has committed suicide. What is it about Selma?

Mehmet Güreli
Born in 1949 in Istanbul, Mehmet Güreli studied philosophy in Istanbul University Faculty of Litterature. He published his first book in 1985, then he filmed a documentary, VAPURLAR (1987). While continuing as a publisher and writer, he shot his second documentary, Necdet Mahfi Ayral, in 2003. He his also an illustrator, with 13 exhibitions of his work since 1998.

Montreal 08 |SUMMER BOOK by Seyfi Teoman

SUMMER BOOK by Seyfi Teoman

2008 / Colour / 94 min
Director :
Seyfi Teoman
Script :
Seyfi Teoman
Photography :
Arnau Valls Colomer
Editor :
Çiçek Kahraman
Cast :
Taner Birsel, Ayten Tökün, Osman Inan, Harun Özüag, Tayfun Günay

In a small town in Turkish Anatolia, the school holiday has begun, the children in their blue uniforms happily running outdoors. Only Ali,10, seems troubled. One of his classmates has stolen his schoolbook, and now he won't be able to do his homework. His older brother Veysel comes to visit. He doesn't want to go back to his military service. He tells his father, Mustafa, a stern, argicultural merchant, that he wants to study business management at the university in Istanbul. His uncle Hasan, a divorced butcher, warns Veysel that life in the big city can be hard. The mother Guler chats with her friends over a glass of tea, seemingly calm but harbouring a secret suspicion that Mustafa has a mistress. The minor tensions of family life are thrown into sudden relief when Mustafa suffers a brain hemorrhage while away on a business trip..."SUMMER BOOK breathes a quiet assurance that's very impressive for a first feature..." -- Derek Elley (Variety)"Turkish first-time director Seyfi Teoman captures both the charm of what it means to be a child during summer vacation and an overwhelming feeling of grief in SUMMER BOOK." -- Gregory Valens (Hollywood Reporter)

Seyfi Teoman
Born in Turkey in 1977, Seyfi Teoman studied economics in Istanbul and filmmaking at the Lodz Film Academy in Poland. He made his directorial debut in 2004 with a short film, Apartment. SUMMER BOOK is his first feature.

Turkish Films of 32. Montreal World Film Festival

The 32nd edition of the Montreal World Film Festival, August 21 -September 1, 2008
First Films World Competition
TATIL KITABI, 2008 / Colour / 94 min, Dir. Seyfi Teoman, Turkey.

Focus on World Cinema
GÖLGE, 2008 / Colour / 113 min, Dir. Mehmet Güreli, Turkey - Italy.
NOKTA, 2008 / Colour / 80 min, Dir. Dervis Zaim, Turkey.
SONBAHAR, 2008 / Colour / 106 min, Dir. Özcan Alper, Turkey.

Turkish Films of Toronto International Film Festival 2008

Toronto International Film Festival announced final programming details, including the complete lineup of films and programmes, for its 33rd edition running September 4 through 13, 2008. As part of TIFF08, 312 films from 64 countries will screen, including 249 feature-length films, 76 per cent of which are world, international or North American premieres, and 61 of which are feature directorial debuts.

Three Turkish Films are included.

Three Monkeys / Üç Maymun by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Pandora's Box / Pandoranin Kutusu by Yeşim Ustaoğlu
Süt (Milk) by Semih Kaplanoglu

Toronto 08| Süt by Semih Kaplanoglu

Country: Turkey
Year: 2008
Language: Turkish
Runtime: 102 minutes
Format: Colour/35mm

Production Company: Kaplan Film/Arizona Films
Producer: Semih Kaplanoglu
Screenplay: Semih Kaplanoglu
Production Designer: Naz Erayda
Cinematographer: Ozgur Eken
Editor: François Quiquéré
Sound: Marc Nourigat
Principal Cast: Melih Selcuk, Basak Koklukaya

International Sales Agent: The Match Factory

When a teenager learns that his mother is having an affair, he has to decide whether to base his reaction on the traditions of their patriarchal culture or on those of the recently modernized society that is emerging in Turkey.

Yusuf, a young poet, and his mother are struggling to make a living off the milk they get from their cows. Their town, like Turkey as a whole, is undergoing rapid industrialization, which is taking business away from local farmers. When his mother falls in love with the town's station master, her needs begin to awaken. Yusuf tries to ignore her burgeoning affair, but when he is drafted for military service and fails to pass his medical exam, the combined stresses become too much for him. He is pushed to make weighty decisions that will irreversibly determine the course of his relationship with his mother.

Much like Aida Begic's Snow and Mijke de Jong's Katia's Sister, both screening at this year's Festival, Süt addresses the complex effects of the rapid modernization occurring in Old Europe and western Asia. For writer-director Semih Kaplanóglu, rural life represents the last vestiges of Turkish tradition – and it is in these small, Old World villages that he has set his Yusuf trilogy, of which Süt is the second installment. Translating to “egg,” “milk” and “honey” in English, the titles of the three films are suggestive of their central concern: the changes that Kaplanóglu sees occurring in his home country. Just as production of some of the most elemental ingredients begins to adapt to the modern world, so must his characters' most fundamental mores.

Traditionally, rural women in Turkey have been overshadowed by their fathers, husbands, sons and families. Their own needs and desires have rarely been acknowledged. In Süt, Kaplanóglu filters his sweeping observations about the shift in Turkey's social customs through the painful transformation occurring between Yusuf and his mother.

Kaplanóglu's visual style has a graceful symbolism. His spare, rural landscapes and sparse dialogue mean that the merest glance or slightest drawing of breath becomes significant. It is a technique that imbues the entire film, and indeed the greater triptych, with poetic force.

Michèle Maheux

Semih Kaplanoglu was born in Izmir, Turkey, and completed cinema studies at Dokuz Eylül University in Izmir. His feature films are Away From Home (00), Angel's Fall (04), Yumurta (07) and Süt (08).

Toronto 08 | Three Monkeys / Üç maymun by Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Country: Turkey/France/Italy
Year: 2008
Language: Turkish
Runtime: 109 minutes
Format: Colour/35mm

Production Company: Zeynofilm Produksiyon Hizmetleri Ltd./NBC Film/Pyramide Productions/BIM Distribuzione
Producer: Zeynep Özbatur
Screenplay: Ebru Ceyland, Ercan Kesal, Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Production Designer: Ebru Ceylan
Cinematographer: Gökhan Tiryaki
Editor: Ayhan Ergürsel, Bora Göksingöl, Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Sound: Murat Senürkmez
Principal Cast: Hatice Aslan, Gürkan Aydin, Yavuz Bingöl, Ercan Kesal, Ahmet Rifat Sungar

Canadian Distributor: Mongrel Media
US Distributor: New Yorker Films
International Sales Agent: Pyramide International

Expanding upon his work in Climates, Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan delivers another searing psychological drama about the unspoken dynamics in a dysfunctional family.

Taking the proverbial “three monkeys” as its title and moral anchor, Ceylan's newest film is composed of tightly wound secrets; evils that are not seen, heard or spoken, but which wreak a distressing havoc on the characters' lives.

Servet (Ercan Kesal), a wealthy politician, has caused a hit-and-run accident, and persuades his driver, Eyüp (Yavuz Bingöl), to assume responsibility. Eyüp is promised a sizeable sum of money upon his release from prison, but this initial act of subterfuge leads to much darker deceits.

In his absence, Eyüp's seductive wife Hacer (Hatice Aslan) becomes involved with Servet, and the couple's brooding teenaged son Ismail must carry the weight of their secret when he visits his father in jail.

Eyüp's release functions as a metaphorical unleashing of past indiscretions – his family's deceits, desires, infidelities and anxieties surface as grand moral fictions. Ceylan plays these against one another, harnessing the inability of Eyüp, Hacer, Ismail and Servet to communicate among themselves and wringing the resulting tension through every scene. Blind to the violence and moral decay brought about by their actions, they eventually – and collectively – come to personify the eponymous monkeys.

As he did on Climates, Ceylan works here with cinematographer Gökhan Tiryaki to produce breathtaking high-definition images, again demonstrating the exceptional potential of digital technology. Ceylan's sombre aesthetic and bracing statements make for a thrilling investigation into the mysterious contradictions of the human soul. This is a stunning work that confirms Ceylan as a master of his art.

Dimitri Eipides

Nuri Bilge Ceylan was born in Istanbul and graduated with an engineering degree from Bosphorus University before studying filmmaking for two years at Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul. His films include the short Cocoon (95) and the features The Small Town (97), Clouds of May (00), Distant (03), which won the Grand Prix as well as the prize for best actor for its two male leads at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, and Climates (06). Three Monkeys (08) is his fifth feature.

Toronto 08| Pandora's Box /Pandoranin Kutusu by Yeşim Ustaoğlu

Pandora's Box /Pandoranin Kutusu by Yeşim Ustaoğlu Country: Turkey/France/Germany/Belgium Year: 2008 Language: Turkish Runtime: 112 minutes Format: Colour/35mm Production Company: Ustaoğlu Film Yapim/Silkroad Production/ Les Petites Lumières/ Stromboli Pictures/The Match Factory Producer: Yeşim Ustaoğlu, Muhammet Çakiral, Serkan Çakarer, Behrooz Hashemian, Setareh Farsi, Natacha Devillers, Catherine Burniaux, Michael Weber, Tobias Pausinger Screenplay: Yeşim Ustaoğlu, Selma Kaygusuz Production Designer: H.F. Farsi, Elif Taşçioğlu, Serdar Yilmaz Cinematographer: Jacques Besse Editor: Franck Nakache Sound: Bernd Von Bassevitz Music: Jean-Pierre Mas Principal Cast: Tsilla Chelton, Derya Alabora, Onur Unsal, Övül Avkiran, Osamn Sonant International Sales Agent: The Match Factory “Pandora's Box is a story of alienation and isolation. It is a story of individuals whose lives have been shaped by a sterile, middle-class morality, a story that many people touched by the inevitable combination of capitalism and modernity can identify with. It is a kind of human landscape, both universal and singular at the same time…” – Yeşim Ustaoğlu, director of Pandora's Box Like many films in the Festival this year, Turkish director Yeşim Ustaoğlu's Pandora's Box is concerned with the curse of modernity. As simple lives begin to give way to the hum and glamour of an industrialized, globalized lifestyle, a Pandora's box inevitably opens. Ustaoğlu tells the story of an estranged family – two sisters, Nesrin and Güzin, and a brother, Mehmet – who live their comfortable, preoccupied lives in Istanbul. When the siblings find out that their elderly mother, Nusret, has gone missing, they return to their small coastal hometown to find her. As the group journeys through the countryside, they realize that they are strangers in their own land – as ignorant to the ancient Turkish countryside as they are to each other. Most of all, however, they have become alienated from themselves, their dreams distracted by prejudice, nihilism and lazy concessions to the status quo. What starts out as a begrudging trip to find their mother turns into a voyage of self-discovery for the threesome, a poetic reordering of their psyches as the reality of the world around them is reflected back onto themselves. Ustaoğlu's visual style mimics the dual nature of this journey, with sweeping panoramas of Turkish landscapes that mirror the characters' inner worlds. There is a rich sense of authenticity that firmly grounds the film's cerebral themes in reality. The film plays with several paradoxes, not the least the fact that communication is easiest between the very old and the young. Nusret's own children cannot comprehend her emotions, but her grandson, Murat, can: he and his grandmother reach a state of mutual understanding through a profoundly touching display of affection that finally bonds them. Ustaoğlu keeps an unwavering eye on the drama unfolding in this family, using them as a potent metaphor for all the unsightliness – and hope – she sees promised in the modern world. Dimitri Eipides Yeşim Ustaoğlu was born in Turkey. She directed the documentary short Life on Their Shoulders in 2004, and has directed a number of feature films, including The Trace (94), Journey to the Sun (99), which won the Blue Angel Award for Best European Film and the Peace Film Award at the 1999 Berlin Film Festival, Waiting for the Clouds (04) and Pandora's Box (08).

Friday, August 29, 2008

INAF-466-01 Fall 2008 Georgetown University

INAF-466-01 Georgetown University
COURSE by DAVID CUTHELL Wed 4:15-6:05 ICC 206









Click to get a PDF of Turkish Cinema History 1897-2006
The Ten Best Turkish Films of All Time (2003 Poll)

FALL 2008 Articles
1. The Russian Monument at Ayastefanos (San Stefano): Between Defeat and Revenge, Remembering and Forgetting Dilek kaya Mutlu
2. Becoming Undone: Contesting Nationalisms in Contemporary Turkish Popular Cinema Gokcen Karanfil
3. Turkish Cinema in the New Europe Angelica Fenner
4. Screening identities at and beyond Europe’s borders Paul Cooke , Rob Stone
5. Istanbul Film 2005 By N. Buket Cengiz
6. No place like home? Or impossible homecomings in the films of Fatih Akin Daniela Berghahn

7. Deep nation
FALL 2007 Articles
PDF File 1
On Film narrative and Narrative meaning / George Wilson
Notes on Spectator Emotion and Ideological Film Criticism /Carl Plantinga

PDF File 2
The Matrix of Visual Culture/ Patricia Pisters
Chapter 6 (de)Terrorialising Forces of the Sound Machine

PDF File 3
Questions of Genre/ Steve Neale
Towards a Third Cinema/ Fernando Solanas and Octavio Gettino

PDF File 4
Deleuze’s Toolbox and Glossary to Cinema 1 and Cinema 2

PDF File 5
Remapping World Cinema / Identitiy, culture and politics in film Towards a positive definition of World Cinema/Lucia Nagip Consuming 'Bollywood' in the global age: the stange case of 'unfine' world cinema/Kushik Bhaumik

PDF File 6
The Real Gaze: Film Theory after Lacan Introduction Todd McGowan

Monday, August 18, 2008

Locarno Film Festival 2008

Mexican film-maker Enrique Rivero on Saturday took home the top prize of Switzerland's Locarno Film Festival with his film "Parque Via," about a man who has put himself in voluntary seclusion.
The special jury prize went to "33 Scenes from Life," by Polish Malgoska Szumowska, exploring the angst of a young woman coping with her mother's illness. The award for best direction was handed to Canadian Denis Cote for "Elle veut le chaos." Meanwhile, the public's pick for best film went to British filmmaker Garth Jenning's "Son of Rambow," a comedy about two adolescents trying to remake the film "Rambo." Illaria Occhini was tapped best actress for her role in "Mar Nero," while Tayanc Ayaydin took best actor for his performance in "The Market - A Tale of Trade."

Turkish films in Locarno Film Festival Competition

With 17 films confirmed to date, from 16 different countries, the selection for 2008 reflects the great diversity of current cinema – note the presence of an Irish filmmaker in competition for the first time since 1982, and a first film from Turkey, a country absent from the competition for nine years. The 2008 selection once again gives pride of place to young auteurs, with no less than 6 first films, and 4 second films. But discoveries are also measured in terms of what is entirely new, and this year there are 12 world and 5 international premières.

The 2008 competition is also distinguished by the recurrence of stories marked by economic and social themes. British filmmaker Ben Hopkins, noted for Simon Magus and The Nine Lives of Thomas Katz, delivers a fable of modern times about money and commerce, filmed in Turkey with local actors "The Market – A Tale of Trade."


Acquired for world sales during the festival, by Medialuna.
by Özcan Alper – Turkey/Germany – 2008 – 106 min.
with Onur Saylak Yusuf, Megi Koboladze Eka, R. Gulefer Yenigul, Serkan Keskin, Nini
Levaja Production: Kusey Film Production Co–productions: Film Fabrik Spiel-und Dokumentarfilmproduktion International Première – First Film

by Ben Hopkins – Germany/Great Britain/Turkey/Kazakhstan – 2007 – 93 min.
with Tayanç Ayaydin, Genco Erkal, Senay Aydin, Hakan Sahin, Rojin
Production: Flying Moon Productions International Sales: The Works International
World Première

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Autumn (Sonbahar) by Ozcan Almer

Autumn (Sonbahar)
Dan Fainaru in Locarno
06 Aug 2008 17:20

Dir: Ozcan Almer. Turkey 2008. 100 mins.

An auspicious debut from Turkish helmer Ozcan Alper, Autumn features a low-key, uneventful story which moves along slowly, offering a sad elegy not just for a pointlessly-lost youth, but a whole set of ideals that have soured – with the plot growing darker and more desperate as the season shifts into winter.

This is more of an intense personal statement than Kim Ki-duk's Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and…Spring, but the comparison begs to be made not just because of the title, but because nature here gives the film a powerful dramatic backdrop, and, in the absence of much dialogue, also pushes the narrative along. Festivals will love this, playing as it does into the Turkish arthouse emergence, and specialty play could follow, although admittedly Autumn does have considerable commercial limitations.

Shot in a wild, untamed mountainous region of the North of Turkey, close to the Black Sea and the Georgian border, Autumn uses the stunning primeval landscape, shot at different times of the day and night and in differing conditions, to underline a drama the script seems eager to keep smouldering out of eyesight.

Released from prison after 10 years for demonstrating against the government, with his lungs barely functioning after a series of hunger strikes, Yusuf (Onur Saylak) has nowhere to go but back to his home in a remote village in the mountains. There, he lives in a small wooden shack with his old mother, left alone after the death of his father and the departure of his sister. Falling into an almost catatonic state of apathy, coughing but never revealing the exact state of his health, Yusuf occasionally helps a small boy who occasionally comes around with his homework.

Yusuf's only friend is Mikhail, the married village carpenter, who has never mustered enough courage to look for something better elsewhere. He soon discovers that all his rebellious university comrades have all settled down and forgotten their youthful idealism.

One day he meets Eka (Megi Koboladze), a woman who has come across the border from nearby Batum to work as a prostitute and send some money home to her mother and the child she left behind. A strange, mostly mute relationship is established between the two of them. He reminds her of heroes in the Russian novels she loves to read, and their sadly laconic encounters end one night in something that might be called an act of love or perhaps just a mutual act of mercy.

Beyond the personal tragedy of a man who has nothing to look forward to there is also, lurking in the shadows but pretty easy to see, the bitter deception of the socialist dream.

Viewers unprepared to constantly read between lines here are sure to be irked by Autumn's slow, undemonstrative pace. Mighty natural scenery compensates for much of the inactivity, helping to establish the mood, and if occasional flashbacks into Yusuf's city past do jar the pastoral atmosphere, they are sparingly and effectively used. The acting, as everything else, is kept on the minimalist side; implying rather than showing emotions.

Production companies/international sales

Kuzey Film Productions

+90 212 252 3605


F. Sercan Akar


Ozcan Alper

Director of photography

Feza Caldiran

Production designer

Canan Cayir


Thomas Balkenhol

Main Cast

Onur Saylak

Megi Koboladze

Gulefer Yenigul

Serkan Keskin

Nino Lejava