Thursday, February 23, 2012

In Istanbul, a Film Festival Is Heavy on Politics

February 15, 2012, 6:00 AM

In Istanbul, a Film Festival Is Heavy on Politics

The actor Kerem Can in the role of Can Ozturk in the Turkish film "Zenne Dancer.Photo courtesy !f FestivalThe actor Kerem Can in the role of Can Ozturk in the Turkish film “Zenne Dancer.

The !f Istanbul International Independent Film Festival opens on Thursday with several movies that touch on controversial issues. It will screen more than 80 movies for an estimated 55,000 viewers in Istanbul, and many of the films examine matters like politics and the environment, at viewings occasionally hosted by stars.
Serra Ciliv, the festival director, said that though there had been no Arab Spring in Turkey, she included two films  on protest movements within the country: “Against the Flow,” a student-made film on efforts to block dam-building in the Black Sea region, and “Playing House,” directed by Bingol Elmas, about child brides.
One film that does focus on the Arab Spring is the three-part Egyptian documentary “Tahrir 2011’’ by Ayten Amin, Tamer Ezzat and Amr Salama. It begins with the 18-day protest in the Cairo square, followed by interviews with President Mubarak’s security forces, and ends with a section on “how those in power were manipulating, or thought they were manipulating, the people,” Ms. Ciliv said.
A screening of a film focusing on homophobia gets an injection of star power. Rupert Everett will host a screening of the Turkish film “Zenne Dancer,” a feature inspired by the story of Ahmet Yildiz, whose father is charged with murder in what has been labeled as the first gay honor killing in Turkey.

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