The reflections of the first day at the festival: Saz world premiere, Edmond, and talks

Saturday, April 6

The creation story of Cyrano de Bergerac: Edmond

Edmond, which tells the creation story of Cyrano de Bergerac, probably the most popular play in French literature, is a dynamic crowd-pleaser. Directed by actor, playwright, dramaturge, and one of the rising stars of France Alexis Michalik, it was the opening film of the festival and screened as part of the Galas section.

Following the screening at the Atlas movie theatre, actors Thomas Solivérès and Lucie Boujenah took audience questions.

Is the film based on a true story?

Thomas Solivérès: It’s a mix of fact and fiction. The original text was written at the time when modern theatre was emerging. There was bias against plays that featured poetry based on the belief that they wouldn’t become successful. However, when the play had premiered events similar to what was depicted in the film had happened. Audience members had walked out to the street during the entr’acte and invited people to watch the play. As a matter of fact, a minister had given his own Legion d’honneur to the playwright saying “wear this until you receive your own” and causing quite an outcry in France.

Lucie Boujenah: My character (Jeanne d'Alcie) is not in the original text. It’s like as if the director wanted to divide wife of Edmond into two characters and added my character. It looks like he wanted to create a love triangle between Edmond, his wife and Jeanne.

Click for further information about the film.

"Saz - The Key of Trust" had its world premiere at the 38th Istanbul Film Festival

The film, which follows the road trip from Berlin to Horasan taken by Petra Nachtmanova, one of the few Western European players of saz, is featured in the Musicians section of the festival. Directed by Stephen Talneau, Saz - The Key of Truth had its world premiere at the Istanbul Film Festival. Following the premiere at the Beyoğlu movie theatre, director Stephan Talneau, saz player Petra Nachtmanova, producer Cay Wesnigk, assistant director Yelda Yezdani, sound engineer Florent Chaintiou, featured musician Murat Ertel, and other crew members answered audience questions.

How did it all start?

Stephan Talneau: My introduction to saz happened when I saw an old man playing an electronic saz on the Istiklal Street. People were listening to him play very quietly. Later on, I met Petra and witnessed how she connects with people and how she affects them. Both Petra and the old man on Istiklal Street were reflecting same feelings. We bonded. Petra told me that there weren’t any films about saz and that’s how we started. We wanted to make a film that follows saz, and follows how Petra follows saz.

Why did you select saz?

Petra Nachtmanova: I was playing the obua before. You look weird playing it. I saw saz on the streets of Berlin and wanted to get a taste of it and I was hooked. I didn’t have much practice, but saz keeps coming back to me demanding to be played. Bağlama took over the piano and guitar. I’m a historian and I’m interested in folk music and not so much in new things.

Horasan is significant in the Alawite culture. Have you ever been to a Djem? Were you curious to see how saz shapes people in the form of a divine religion?

Petra Nachtmanova: I’ve only attended a Djem in Berlin. It’s not that easy in abroad since foreigners are not let in. It’s especially difficult to get in as a woman. Filming is impossible. We didn’t want to cause any trouble to attendees by filming inside. Some things can stay as they are. I was certainly curious, but I’m more interested in the social aspect of it rather than the religious.

Click for further information about the film.

Bertolucci through the eyes of Jak Şalom

Jak Şalom, one of the founding members of the Turkish Cinemateque Association and the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Contribution to Cinema Award, introduced Bernardo Bertolucci’s Conformmist (1970) to the audience before its screening at the Kadıköy Film Theatre as part of the Cinemania section. One of the masterpieces of Bertolucci, who passed away recently, the film follows the rise of police officer Marcello during Mussolini’s regime.

Şalom talks about Bertoluci’s life and his start in cinema and emphasizes what a pivotal coincidence it was that he was a neighbour of Pier Paolo Pasolini. “While Pasolini was filming Acattone in 1961, Bertolucci’s poet father says to him ‘take this kid with you.’ So, young Bernardo goes to set everyday with Pasolini. It took a 30-minute car ride to get to the set and they chatted for half an hour everyday on the way. Imagine what a wonderful internship that was for the 20 year-old Bertolucci chatting half an hour with a man such as Pasolini. Bertolucci serves as Pasolini’s assistant during the filming of Accotone. After that, he makes his start in cinema at the age of 21 when he films La Commare Secca, the story of a hooker who was found dead, based on the detective story that Pasolini gave him. It is considered to be a minor film today, but it really shines a light on Bertolucci’s sense of cinema.”

Underlining the fact that Bertolucci was born during the time of Mussolini and died during the era of Lega Nord, Şalom says “Bertolucci was born under fascism and died under fascism”, and sees the efforts of Marcello to be an ordinary person in The Conformist as something what fascism precisely wants. Şalom emphasizes that that’s how Hannah Arendt talked about the banality of evil and sums up the two major themes of the film by quoting Arendt and Camus: “Through resignation from thought we give up on being an actor and become ready to do whatever we are asked of. As Camus said, when you put your finger in a cogwheel it’s inevitable that your whole body will be caught up in it.”

Click for further information about the film.

Films screening in Kadıköy this Sunday

The 38th Istanbul Film Festival will gather cinephiles in 8 movie theatres across Istanbul in the course of 12 days and residents of the Anatolian Side are welcomed at Kadıköy and Rexx movie theatres. A good news for those who want to add festival films to their schedule on Sunday, 7 April is that tickets are still available.

* This Sunday we’re traveling around the world at the Rexx movie theatre:

The River (Kazakhstan) | 11.00
God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya (North Macedonia) | 13.30
An Impossible Love (France) | 16.00
Yuli (Cuba) | 19.00
Destroyer (USA) | 21.30

*This Sunday at the Kadıköy movie theatre we discover art in Palestine, war through the lens of Kubrick, navigating love with a fake online profile, a celebration at a castle, and a page from English history.

The Man Who Stole Banksy | 11.00
Paths of Glory | 13.30
Who You Think I Am | 16.00
Happy New Year, Colin Burstead | 19.00
Peterloo | 21.30