Saturday, September 12, 2009

53. BFI London Film Festival | Journey to the Moon by Kutlug Ataman

Journey to the Moon

Turkish villagers' quest to fly to the moon in the 1950s becomes an engaging study of contemporary Turkish culture.

Journey to the Moon, the new project from internationally renowned Turkish artist and filmmaker Kutlug Ataman, forms part of a series of works known as The Mesopotamian Dramaturgies, and was first exhibited in installation form in Linz earlier this year. Shown here in its single- screen version, the film takes a different approach from his narrative features, Serpent's Tail, Lola + Bilidikid, and 2 Girls. Set in a remote village in the Erizincan province in Eastern Turkey, it's the tale of four villagers' quest to travel to the moon during a period in the late 1950s when Turkey's villages were being encouraged to modernise. It is told through the use of found black-and-white photographs from the period, and the aid of a local narrator. Intercut with this, a wide range of established Turkish intellectuals offer their views and interpretations of the events. In Ataman's singular hands the assemblage of the images is evocative and often funny, and what the narrator lacks in first-hand experience, he makes up for in enthusiasm. Unsurprisingly to those familiar with any of Ataman's earlier work, this is no straightforward historical drama; rather in its retelling, the story becomes an engaging study of contemporary Turkish culture.

Sandra Hebron

Director:Kutlug Ataman; Cast:Metin Alagas, Gozde Aran, Kemal Okumus; Country:
Turkey; Writer: Kutlug Ataman; Running time: 79min; Year 2009

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