Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Europe's LUX prize goes to When We Leave

Mavi Boncuk |

Feo Aladag’s When We Leave (Die Fremde) has won the 2010 European Parliament LUX Cinema prize worth 90,000 Euros.

The film, which is this year’s German foreign-language Oscar submission, tells the story of a Turkish woman (Sibel Kekilli) [1] trying to make a new life in Berlin after escaping an abusive husband in Istanbul. The European Parliament’s president Jerzy Buzek presented the award to Aladağ at a special ceremony today (24 Nov). She is the first female director to be shortlisted since the award began in 2007.

The award carries a cash prize of 90,000 Euros towards subtitling the film in all official EU languages, adapting the original version for visually- or hearing-impaired people and producing a 35mm print per EU Member State or for the DVD release. The LUX Prize is awarded to films that illustrate the founding values of European identity, explore cultural diversity or contribute insights to the EU integration debate.

This year’s other finalists were Filippos Tsitos’ Akadimia Platonos and Olivier Masset-Depasse’s Illégal.
[1] Sibel Kekilli (born 16 June 1980 in Heilbronn, West Germany) is a German actress of Turkish origin, who gained public attention after starring in the 2004 film Gegen die Wand (Head-On). She has twice won the highest German movie award Lola.

Apr 24, 2010
But the star of the evening was Sibel Kekilli, who won the best actress Lola for Feo Aladag's "Fremde/When We Leave." Kekilli, who won the Lola for her debut in Fatih Akin's "Head-On" (2004) had nearly vanished from the German film ...
Oct 22, 2010
The jury about Die Fremde: “This touching story about a turkish young woman (Sibel Kekilli) in Berlin is about the new neighborhoods in which we live, in the same world, at the same place, and yet not at the same time. ...
Apr 30, 2010
Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film – Sibel Kekilli as Umay in When We Leave (Die Fremde), directed and written by Feo Aladag. (Germany). Sponsored by Delta Air Lines. Winner receives two BusinessElite ticket vouchers for anywhere ...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cinematographer Baris Ozbicer talks about Kaplanoglu’s Honey

»Bal« (Honey) is the third part of the Yusuf Trilogy, which traces the origins of a soul. Like in his previous films, Semih Kaplanoglu decides to work without music to create the emotional world of a seven-year-old Yusuf (Boras Atlas, quite simply adorable) in the film. It is also full of enduring images and soundscapes – from the jingle of the bells Yusuf wears (presumably so his family can hear where he is), to the sights and sounds of the forest.

Cinematographer Baris Ozbicer recalls Johannes Vermeer with his rich colour palette perfectly matching the rustic setting, emphasised by Kaplangoglu’s slow pacing that initially renders many scenes like intricate still life. (Amber Wilkinson San Sebastian Film Festival)

Director of photographer Baris Ozbicer joined a Q&A session after screening of Hone/Bal. Festival Advisor Erju Ackman translated Q&A from and into Turkish/English.

Baris studied film both in Turkey and England. After finishing film school in Fine Arts, Film and Television Marmara University, he came to London Film School and had diploma in the Art and Technique of Filmmaking.

He worked in commercials, short films, documentaries and music videos since 1998. He also worked as a camera opertor with Sahwin Kumar, Atif Yilmaz and Gigi Rocatti. In 2004, he started to work as a director of photography: Toos up (2004), Happy New Year London (2007), Honey (2010) and Majority (2010). The films and himself as cinematographer had received many awards at major festivals such as Venice, Berlin, Istanbul, Antalya, Adana. He’s been recently nominated Best European Cinematographer.

Baris Ozbicer’s Website

Montreal Turquaze by Kadir Balci

Reviewed in Montreal By RONNIE SCHEIB
Turquaze (Belgium-Turkey)

A Kinepolis Film (in Belgium) release of a Menuet production in co-production with GU-Film. Produced by Dirk Impens. Co-producer, Gulin Ustun. Directed, written by Kadir Balci.
With: Burak Balci, Charlotte Vandermeersch, Nihat Alptug Altinkaya, Tilbe Saran, Sinan Vanden Eynde, Hilal Sonmez, Maaike Cafmeyer. (Flemish, Turkish, French dialogue)

With his luminously lensed first feature, "Turquaze," Kadir Balci joins the roster of talented helmers of Turkish descent working abroad. A pensively joyous romance with a dash of ethnic angst, the pic introduces a trio of Turkish brothers living in Belgium who redefine family dynamics after their father's death. While two of the siblings embody the opposite poles of assimilation, Balci concentrates on the middle son and his love affair with a perky Flemish blonde, charting a search for cultural equilibrium. Skedded for late September release in Belgium, "Turquaze" might shine as a modest European sleeper.

Pic has a symmetry Goldilocks could appreciate: Eldest brother Ediz (Nihat Alptug Altinkaya) reps his Turkish father's authoritarian old ways, discouraging his wife (Hilal Sonmez) from learning Flemish while he himself revives an affair with a Flemish former flame (Maaike Cafmeyer). The youngest brother, 18-year-old Bora (Sinan Vanden Eynde), is too ready to conform -- technologically addicted, and prone to whatever mischief his assorted delinquent pals dream up. Timur (the helmer's brother Borak Balci), on the other hand, strikes a perfect balance between honoring his heritage and opening his mind to his adoptive country.

Timur works as a guard in an art museum, which suits his contemplative nature well, the museum's painted landscapes recalling his grandfather's descriptions of the Turkish countryside. But he's a musician by training and inclination, and he experiences his epiphany of perfect integration when he auditions for a brass band, fulfilling his father's never-attempted dream. Despite some casual cultural insensitivity about his name ("I'll just call you Tim"), the bandleader readily grants him a tryout, during which the other members spontaneously pick up the unfamiliar melody as he plays.

In "Turquaze," music proves an infectious universal language, a notion made more than just a quaint sentiment by Bert Ostyn's dazzling original score, which incorporates everything from string quartets to Turkish marches, his track intermingling rock orchestrations and folk tunes.

This interactive harmony also reigns in Timur's relationship with Belgian girlfriend Sarah (Charlotte Vandermeersch) -- but only as long as the couple keep their relationship to themselves. Once their prejudiced, opinionated relatives intrude, discord holds sway, and the couple broods, breaks up and must cross borders and continents for the chance to reunite.

Balci's young protagonists, though perfectly capable of stupidity and shortsightedness, mostly come off as patient, caring and intelligent, displaying a level of sanity both welcome and rare in a domestic drama. It's a spirit consistent with the casual symmetry of director Balci's script and the intimacy achieved by Ruben Impens' free-flowing photography.

Camera (color, widescreen), Ruben Impens; editor, Nico Leunen; music, Bert Ostyn; production designer, Kurt Rigolle; costume designer, Tine Verbeurgt; sound (Dolby SRD), Jan Deca. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (Focus on World Cinema), Aug. 30, 2010. Running time: 95 MIN.