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2 - 16 November 2017
Istanbul Modern Cinema presents the sixth edition of its newly released films from Turkey program titled “Count Us In!” featuring fresh ideas and novel approaches in terms of content and form. The festival-like program this year features film directors and cast members attending the screenings of first feature films such as Ceylan Özgün Özçelik’s Inflame which premiered in the Berlinale Film Festival this year and The Gulf by Emre Yeksan who was nominated for the Luigi De Laurentiis Award at the Venice Film Festival, as well as welcoming masters such as Reha Erdem, one of the auteurs of Turkish cinema with his ninth film Big Big World. One of the innovative films featured in the program will be the first Kurdish superhero film Genco that won the Best Film Award at the Ankara Film Festival, directed by Ali Kemal Çınar with a very small budget in Diyarbakır.
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BENİM VAROŞ HİKAYEM (MY SUBURBAN STORIES), 2017
Since he was young, Yunus Ozan Korkut always dreamed of making films despite there being no movie theaters in Ceyhan where he was born and raised. His documentary takes the viewer into a very different world. Stating that he was inspired by friends from his own neighborhood and even that he made the film in their memory, the director brings in front of the camera real people who live in the neighborhood. Çulluk Yusuf, Rokko and His Gang, Keleş, Kaçakçı, and Afilli are some of the unusual characters in My Suburban Stories. Grim tales, cursing, poverty and deprivation are displayed in their starkest, truest form in this film, where we witness the lives of the neighborhood residents, each more unique than the next.
The documentary immortalizes the Blue Blues Band, legendary group of the 1990s rock scene in Turkey, and the story of its two genius musicians, Yavuz Çetin and Kerim Çaplı. Batu Mutlugil and Sunay Özgür, the other members of Blue Blues Band, as well as Yavuz Çetin and Kerim Çaplı’s close friends and family members shed light on both the process of the band’s creation and the two musicians’ struggles in life and their tragic ends, making for a fascinating biographical documentary.
Known as a “one-man giant crew” who writes, directs and stars in his own films, Ali Kemal Çınar’s new feature is about the story of a Kurdish superhero. At the age of five, Ali Kemal is given limited superpowers by someone from another world. He opens doors for people who are locked out and repairs busted tires, but his dream is to save the world. He introduces himself as Gênco to hide his identity and wears a purple costume. His friend Salih asks his help for his sister but when Gênco’s powers fall short, as they do in many instances, he and Salih begin to work together on developing his powers. One evening, things get complicated when the person from another world comes back to increase Gênco’s powers but, by mistake, gives the powers to the building’s concierge.
GÖÇEBE (NOMAD), 2017
In a world where human life is coming to an end, a merchant and his son set out on a journey across harsh, unforgiving terrain using an ancient map, in an attempt to reach a community that exists in the promised green lands. But this community does not accept anyone who comes along and has them undergo challenging tests, to which the father and son are also subjected. They will either be rewarded with the home they had been dreaming of, or it will bring their end. Telling about the struggle for a utopian life in a dystopian world, the film is also notable for its stunning cinematography.
KAYGI (INFLAME), 2016
Inflame is a first feature which tells the story of Hasret, a video editor at a TV station, confronting the death of her parents who died 20 years ago. When she can no longer stand the ever-increasing censorship at the news channel where she works, this woman in her thirties resigns and finds herself caught between reality and hallucination in her old apartment, itself trapped in the midst of urban transformation. Every night, Hasret has the same nightmare and is overtaken by the feeling that her musician parents might not have died in a traffic accident, but in another, more horrific way. Nominated for the Best First Feature Award at the Berlinale, Ceylan Özgün Özçelik’s film successfully blends psychological drama with suspense.
KEDİ (CAT), 2016
Cat is an unusual documentary about Istanbul, as well as director Ceyda Torun’s first feature-length documentary. Offering a different perspective on the city through the eyes of cats living in districts of Istanbul such as Galata, Cihangir, Feriköy, and Kuzguncuk, this warm-hearted documentary stars cats named Sarı (Yellow), Duman (Smoke), Bengü (common name meaning “eternal”), Aslan Parçası (Little Lion), Gamsız (Happy-Go-Lucky), Psikopat (Psychopath), and Deniz (common name meaning “sea”). Adding color to the neighborhood where they live as well as to the lives of the shopkeepers and people who take care of them, these cats, each with a character of their own, take the viewers on a pleasant journey through the streets of Istanbul.
KIRIK KALPLER BANKASI (THE BANK OF BROKEN HEARTS), 2017
Osman and Enis, who are nearing their thirties, play in an amateur soccer team in Istanbul struggling to stay in the league. At the same time, they plan to rob a bank in the district with their teammates. But as they are playing their last game, a big fight breaks out and the game is left unfinished. During the fight, Osman falls in love with Aslım, who is under the constant watch of Rüstem, the captain of the opposing team and an organ trafficker. As time goes by, things get even more complicated while Osman’s love for Aslım grows stronger. Inspired by William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the film tells the tragicomic story of people chasing hopeless dreams.
KOCA DÜNYA (BIG BIG WORLD), 2016
Ali and Zuhal have grown up in an orphanage believing they are brother and sister. When they get out of the orphanage, Ali starts working as a motorcycle mechanic, while Zuhal is adopted by an abusive family. The two youngsters, who never wanted to be separated, have now fallen into a “big big world” where conditions prevent them from coming together and where they feel they will never belong. They resort to escaping to a forest where they would be protected from all the adversities and start a life from scratch in a completely different world far away from civilization. A touching coming-of-age story, this film by Reha Erdem, a
KÖRFEZ (THE GULF), 2017
Emre Yeksan is the producer of films from previous years such as Do Not Forget Me Istanbul and Come to My Voice. This time, he himself is in the director’s seat for his first feature film The Gulf. Leaving behind a bitter divorce and a career gone awry, Selim returns to his hometown of Izmir where he is confronted with traces of his former life, including his family, schoolmates, and ex-girlfriend. Following a ship accident in the gulf, an awful stench spreads throughout the city causing its residents to flee, whereas Selim begins to find the possibilities of a new life here.
TAŞ (STONE), 2017
Stoneis the latest feature by Orhan Eskiköy, whose films won many awards at various festivals in recent years, including On the Way to School and Voice of my Father. Ekber finds a young man lying unconscious at their doorstep and takes him in. His wife Emete, who obviously does not get along well with her husband, is convinced that this man who has appeared at their door is Hasan, their long-lost son, and cannot bear anyone to doubt it. After lying unconscious in their home for a length of time, the man wakes up and introduces himself as Selim. At the same time, a man who wanders around the village and introduces himself as Memur (Officer) is after Selim and threatens that if they do not hand Selim over to him he will take away all the stones, which have a special meaning for everyone in the village.
TEREDDÜT (CLAIR OBSCUR), 2016
Şehnaz is a psychiatrist who does not face the facts of her personal life, and Elmas is a young girl who was forced to marry at an early age. Although they lead very different lives, in effect, the problems they have to deal with are fundamentally similar. The lives of these two women cross when Elmas has a traumatic experience, after which a lengthy, challenging reckoning begins. According to veteran director Yeşim Ustaoğlu, Clair Obscur calls into question “states of womanhood, the male-female relationship, and the responsibilities and neglects of the family as an institution” while debating “the problems a trauma victim might experience during both the psychological and judicial processes.”