Sunday, June 14, 2009

Turkish films of Altın Koza (Golden Boll) Film Festival 2009

There is a wide selection of movies running for the National Competition in the Golden Boll Film Festival. The list includes films from newcomers and renowned directors. Turkey’s pride, Nuri Bilge Ceylan heads the jury.

There is an impressive selection of Turkish movies running for the National Competition in the Altın Koza (Golden Boll) Film Festival. The list includes movies that have won awards in national and international festivals, those released last year and waiting their release dates, films from newcomers and experienced directors, coming-of-age stories, and tragedies of family and love.

The jury member in this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, will head the jury, which include acclaimed names like writer Füruzan, actors Özgü Namal, Bulut Aras, Meltem Cumbul, director Özcan Alper, cinematographer Uğur İçbak, and movie critic Zeynep Tül Akbal Süalp.

Little children, teachers and the bogeyman

The documentary directing duo Orhan Eskiköy and Özgür Doğan return with another unique film in which they blur the lines between reality and fiction. "İki Dil Bir Bavul" (On the Way to School) follows a Turkish teacher throughout the course of one school year as he tries finding ways to communicate with Kurdish children in a village. He doesn’t speak Kurdish, the children don’t speak Turkish, resulting in a unique film selected last year for the competition in the Joris Ivens Award at the Amsterdam International Documentary Festival.

Director, writer and producer Atalay Taşdiken delves further into the world of children with his debut feature "Mommo" (Bogeyman). Inspired by real-life events, the film tells the story of 9-year-old Ali, forced to take responsibility as the elder brother to his sister, Ayşe, as the siblings are separated from their father because of a new stepmother. Mommo is the bogeyman, adding further fear to Ayşe’s unstable life. The film debuted recently in the Berlin Film Festival.

The second movie in director and writer Cemal Şan’s "Soul, Mind and Heart" trilogy, "Dilber’in Sekiz Günü" (Dilber’s Eight Days) becomes the "Soul" of the trilogy. The film takes an inspiring look at the arranged marriages in rural Turkey. Set in a village in Southeast Turkey, Dilber’s life turns upside down when she finds out that her childhood sweetheart Ali’s family set him up for an arranged marriage. In an act of desperation and frustration, Dilber announces that she’s ready to marry the first suitor that comes along. The film went on to win various awards in national film festivals, including for two of its actors, Nesrin Cavadzade and Fırat Tanış.

Last year, "Vicdan" (Conscience) marked the return and the jubilee of one of Turkish cinema’s masters, Erden Kıral, who brought us such classics like "Dilan," "Hakkari’de Bir Mevsim" (A Season in Hakkari) and "Mavi Sürgün" (The Blue Exile) in the past. The film was inspired by the third page news of newspapers, focusing on scandal, family tragedies and sexual escapades gone wrong in Turkey’s lower class. "Vicdan" takes us to a small town, to the impending doom of a love triangle. Both actresses have won prestigious awards, with Nurgül Yeşilçay bringing home the Best Actress award in the Golden Oranges while Tülin Özen won the Turkish Film Critics' Association award for Best Supporting Actress.

Mahmut Fazıl Coşkun’s debut film "Uzak İhtimal" (Wrong Rosary) meets the audience hot on the heels of winning the Tiger Award given to the Best Film in the Rotterdam Film Festival. What’s more impressive is that the film was the first Turkish film to compete at the festival. The film tells the moving story of a love between a müezzin (caller of daily prayer for Muslims), and a prospective nun, and their friendship with an elderly bookseller in Istanbul.

Known for his work on TV, Murat Düzgünoğlu enters the competition with his debut feature, "Hayatın Tuzu" (The Salt of Life). The film tells the story of a widow living in the eastern city of Bitlis, and her relations with her four adult children who are too attached to her for their own good. The events unfold as when the fourth child returns from Istanbul to join his siblings, an imam, a worker in a tobacco factory and a student. The film won the Special Jury prize in the recent İpek Yolu Film Festival in Bursa.

Between city and village

Adapted from novelist Hasan Ali Toptaş’s award-winning cult novel "Gölgesizler" (The Shadowless), experienced writer and director Ümit Ünal turns an Anatolian village into a dreamscape with its bizarre characters and intricate relations. A barber working in Istanbul longs to be "both here and far, far away." And one day, abruptly, he takes off, and travels far away, to a village that is nowhere and at no time.

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