After successful retrospectives on Iranian and Egyptian cinema in the last two years respectively, Filmhouse’s Middle Eastern Festival is this year turning its focus to Turkish cinema, as well as showcasing a few award-winning films from other countries in the region including Iran, Iraq and Jordan.
To kick off the festival, there’s a one-day workshop on The History and Themes of Turkish Cinema from its beginnings to the present, led by film scholar Ozlem Guclu. The first Turkish film was not produced until 1914, after which the cinema became a medium of propaganda to develop a national identity after the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1929. It wasn’t until 1964 that Turkish cinema gained international attention, with Metin Erksan’sDry Summer winning the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.
This festival follows Turkey’s cinematic progression from 1964 through the civil unrest of the 1970s, when attention turned to migration with black-comedy films such as Tunç Okan’s The Bus, and the 1980s saw an emergence of Kurdish cinema with Yilmaz Guney’s Yol. But it was only in the mid-nineties that Turkish cinema really took off, thanks to increased funding availability and European co-productions such as Harem Suaré and Head On. This has lead to a new wave of Turkish films, in particular Innocence, Times and Winds andUzak.
From other countries in the region, award-winning Iraqi director Mohamad Al Daradji will be speaking in a question and answer session about his film, Son of Babylon. Other films being showcased include Shahada, looking at the pressure between faith and secularism of Muslims in contemporary Europe; Iranian film Tehran Backyard and award-winning About Elly and Tehroun; and not forgetting the Jordanian Captain Abu Raed, a hit at the 2008 EIFF.
With Turkey being full of the rich stories of the Middle East but with one of the region’s closest relationships to Europe, this promises to be a fascinating and revealing festival.
Workshop: The History and Themes of Turkish Cinema: Sat 19th @ Augustine United Church
About Elly (Darbareve Elly): Thu 10th @ 17:45
The Bus (Otobüs): Sat 12th @ 13:15
Harem Suaré: Sat 12th @ 18:30
Tehran Backyard Plus Shorts (The Bees, My Mother’s Daughter, Red Burqa): Sun 13th @ 13:30
Yol (The Road): Sun 13th @ 17:45
Innocence (Masumiyet): Mon 14th @ 18:00
Uzak (Distant): Tue 15th @ 18:00
Tehroun: Thu 17th @ 18:00
Captain Abu Raed: Fri 18th @ 18:10
Dry Summer (Susuz yaz): Sat 19th @ 13:30
Son of Babylon: 19th-23rd @ various times (19th includes post-screening Q&A with the film’s director, Mohamed Al Daradji)
Times and Winds (Bes vakit): Sun 20th @ 13:15
Shahada: Sun 20th @ 18:00
Head On (Gegen die Wand): Mon 21st @ 18:00