Saturday, April 28, 2012

2012 | Araf by Yeşim Ustaoğlu

Written & directed by: Yeşim Ustaoğlu [1] ; Cinematographer: Michael HammonSound Engineer: Bruno Tarriere; Produced by: Ustaoglu Film (Turkey), CDP (France), The Match Factory (Germany)Produced by: Ustaoğlu Film (Turkey), CDP (France), The Match Factory (Germany) | Format: 35mm / color / Turkey / Germany / France 2012 Original Language: Turkish 
Match Factory | Araf  Site
Cast: Özcan Deniz, Neslihan Atagül, Barıs Hacıhan, Ilgaz Kocatürk, Nihal Yalçın

ARAF - SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN is the story of Zehra (18) and Olgun (18) whose lives are caught in a vacuum. They both work 24 hour shifts in a large motorway service station. The world in which they live and work is a place of throwaway culture and constant change. They too are waiting for a chance to change and escape from their empty, monotonous lives.

When Zehra is not working, she spends her life in front of the TV. She dreams that one day she will escape her dull surroundings and go far away to live a glamorous life and fall wonderfully in love like the characters she sees on the box. Zehra's colleague Olgun, who is wildly in love with Zehra and doesn't give up trying to impress her, also has big plans for his life: He wants to get rich quickly by winning a TV gameshow and become a power- ful and impressive man.

Zehra and Olgun share the same TV-fuelled dreams. But one day their lives are turned upside down, when Zehra falls passionately in love with a lorry driver, Mahur (38), who arrives at the petrol station during the winter. While Zehra discovers her own body, sexual powers and self- confidence through her affair with Mahur and starts to slowly lose her girlish innocence, Olgun, who is troubled by this change in Zehra, starts to try more outlandish stunts, inspired by those he has seen on TV, to make himself a local hero and win her back.

When Zehra learns that she is pregnant, she tries to protect her unborn child within a very conservative society and she learns that only she can take responsibility for her life and decide on its' direction. Olgun's violent reaction, brought about by his incredible disappointment and wounded pride at this news, lands him in prison.

After some time though, he learns the meaning of true love and selflessness. Over the course of the film young Zehra and Olgun grow up and learn the stark truths of life eventually embrac- ing each other and discovering a way out of this 'Araf,' or 'somewhere in between,' albeit ending up very far from their initial dreams...

[1]  After making several award-winning shorts in Turkey, Yesim Ustaoglu made her feature film debut in 1994 with THE TRACE. She received international recognition for her JOURNEY TO THE SUN (GÜNESE YOLCULUK). In competition at the Berlin Film Festival in 1999, it received the Blue Angel Award (Best European Film) and the Peace Prize. The moving story of a courageous friendship undaunted by political cruelty, JOURNEY TO THE SUN swept the Istanbul Film Festival by winning Best Film, Best Director, the FIPRESCI Prize and the Audience Award. Her third film, WAITING FOR THE CLOUDS, the story of a woman forced to live for 50 years with the haunting secrets of a hidden identity, was awarded NHK Sundance - International Film-maker's award and thus established a strong reputation for the director. With her fourth film, PANDORA'S BOX, the story of an old woman suffering from Alzheimer disease, Turkish filmmaker Yesim Ustaoglu won the Best Film and Best Actress award in San Sebastian in 2008, con- tinued to travel many international festival and was also released theatrically in many countries. 

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