Monday, April 16
A Film in the world of emotions
Colorless Dream from the section “National Competition” was screened at Atlas Sineması with the participation of the director Mehmet Ali Konar. Konar said that he wanted to make a film for 10 years: “I just had the opportunity to make a film last year. I tried to shoot the story that I felt and believed in. I wanted to be in the world of emotions, didn’t wanted to say big words.”
The film was shot in a very short time, 13 days, in Diyarbakır, and director Tayfun Aydın, as one of the producers said: “I was involved in the film during the post-production stage. When Ali showed it to me, there was a complete edition but it was also lacking a lot of things. Even so, I liked the actors and the feeling of the film, and said ‘I should be involved in this.’ Then we completed it together.”
A child in the middle of two hostile worlds…
Muhi – Generally Temporary from the section “Human Rights in Cinema” was screened at Beyoğlu Sineması with the participation of the directors Rina Castelnouvo-Hollander and Tamir Elterman. The film follows a 7-year-old child trapped inside a hospital in the middle of two hostile worlds opposed to each other, Israel and Palestine. Rina Castelnouvo-Hollender said: “Five years ago a project was started to take photographs of people from the two sides who believed in reconciliation and peace. Muhi was one of these people to be photographed. So we met him and developed this project.” Tamir Elterman explained further: “We didn’t know where the story would take us, because we were filming a documentary that was based on real life and we were observing what was going on. We tried to let ourselves follow the natural course of events and started to film Muhi and his family at the hospital every day. Since there was no written screenplay, the project moved along by itself, and we were only watching where it would go.”
Traditions, class conflicts and moral corruption…
Cocote from the section “International Competition” was screened at Cinemaximum City’s Nişantaşı with the participation of director Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias. The film focuses on the traditions, class conflicts, tendency to violence and moral corruption in the Dominican Republic. The director said: “I tried to understand the political or aesthetical significance of being a mulatto. Starting with my previous work, I don’t plan ahead thinking ‘we should use 4:3 aspect ratio here, black and white there’. These aesthetic choices are the reflections of this situation.” The audience asked if there was a similarity between the main character Alberto and himself, to which he responded: “I didn’t suffer from the same religious torments as he does. I grew up in a secular family. The dichotomy between the poor and the rich isn’t discussed much by the public in the country. I come from a working class family. My parents are the first generation to have attended to university in family. I’ve studied in the university as well, and became part of the minority who gets to go abroad with this privilege. Perhaps thanks to this, these ideas will be discussed in this generation.”
Can a triangle be four-cornered?
Four-Cornered Triangle from the section “Out of Competition” within “Turkish Cinema” was screened at Beyoğlu Sineması with the participation of the director Mehmet Güreli and the producer Görkem Yeltan. Güreli said that they made the film as an adaptation of Salah Birsel’s eponymous novel, and said: “You can find the exact dialogues in the novel. It is the most cinematic novel of Salah. I was seven years old when it was written, and it was written right beside me. I’ve also adapted some of Salah’s poems into songs. I’m sure Salah would have loved them.” Actor Kaan Çakır said it was his second film with Güreli and that it’s really fun to work with him. Another actor Mustafa Dinç commented: “I’d never been in a film before. I met Güreli. through a friend. I found beauty in Mr. Mehmet’s look onto the world and on the novel. It was very nice to work with him.”
Salim Shaahen’s joyous life
Nothingwood from the section “Antidepressant” was screened at Atlas Sineması with the participation of the director Sonia Kronlund and the film’s star Salim Shaheen. The film tells the joyous life of Afghani filmmaker Salim Shaheen, and the director Kronlund talked about the film’s starting point: “I go to Afghanistan quite often and when I come back, I would always tell bad news about assaults or breaches of women’s rights. I thought we could show a difference face of the country. After all, life continues there as well. Films are made; people get married. I wanted to show that to the world.”
Two women after the genocide
Birds Are Singing in Kigali from the section “Human Rights in Cinema” was screened at Beyoğlu Sineması with the participation of one of the directors Joanna Kos-Krauze. The film looks at the refugee crisis from a point of view unusual to cinema and it is Krzysztof Krauze’s final film he made with his wife before he died. The director answered the questions from the audience and talked about the two women who are in the center of the story: “I lived in Rwanda and South Africa for a few years. I spent time with these women who were affected by the genocide. Do these victims want to spend time together? Sometimes they don’t want to be together because when they are, they remember what they’ve been through. We also wanted to show it from the witness’s perspective because we were trying to show the post-traumatic stress that the victims were suffering from. Sometimes the victims lose sense of perspective. They may grasp the present time, the past and the future in an intermingled form. Or they constantly go through flashbacks. We wanted to show all these things with this film.”
Elliott Crosset Hove: “We went out there to make observations.”
Winter Brothers from the section “International Competition” was screened with the support of Denmark Culture Institute at Cinemaximum City’s Nişantaşı with the participation of the actor Elliot Crosset Hove. “We worked on the script a lot. We went out there to make observations and I talked to the workers. I also try to be careful with what I ate before the shootings,” said Hove who also pointed out that the reason the sound in the film was so physical and tense was the need to give certain messages, and that the most difficult scene to act was the fighting scene: “You can get into an angry mood and feel like fighting but when it comes to act it, that takes effort.”
From societal drama towards thriller
Love Me Not from “Mined Zone” was screened at Cinemaximum City’s Nişantaşı with the participation of the director Alexandros Avranas and the lead actress Eleni Roussinou. Director Avranas commented: “The film was inspired by something that happened in 2011. When it came to casting, we needed actors who could make a huge lie look real. They also needed to look like they were into the young and rich lifestyle. (…) I’m not hopeful of the new generation at all. Nothing good happened after the financial breakdown. Young people are only after money, and the old generation is trying to screw them over. The film is somehow of a metaphor for it.” The actress Eleni Roussinou said: “My greatest motivation while preparing for this part was to work with Alex. In the first part of the film, I had to act like a person who was keeping a constant lie, meaning I had to keep lying to audience. And that was difficult for me at times.”
Going after a simple cinema
Sideway from “National Competition” was screened at Atlas Sineması with the participation of the director Tayfun Pirselimoğlu and the film crew. On the things that he wants to point out to in the film, the director said that it is full of allegories but that he doesn’t think it’s right to explain them: “The audience always understands something depending on their disposition. What you make of it is certainly different than what we understand; I wouldn’t like to spoil it.” Then he added: “What the film wants to say and my hope is that we’re headed somewhere bad. The course of events points out to somewhere bad, not only for us but for the entire world. But I think the doomsday is also a sign of something good because it is not possible to start anew without hitting the end. We always say that there is no bottom to it but we just don’t know where it is. We can only return to the beginning by heading for the end first. There’s a hope for a new beginning in the film.”
Pirselimoğlu also answered a question about the visual aesthetics of the film: “I don’t like a camera that jumps around, bounces or dances. A simpler visual quality in cinema is what I’m after”. He also said that the film is set somewhere that looks far but is not: “It is not a story on the main road; we’re taking the sideway.”
A contemporary discussion on being an outsider
Western from the section “International Competition” was screened at Cinemaximum City’s Nişantaşı with the participation of the director Valeska Grisebach and actor Syuleyman Alilov Letifov. “Sometimes actors bring their own interpretation to the character. I believe it adds a new perspective to the film and that was exactly what I wanted–that the actors would reflect real life. (…) I was looking for a fake wilderness and the border between Greece and Bulgaria was perfect for that. In the film, I’m interested in the relationships between people and the uncertain moments in these relationships. The characters are people who think they should have adventures but can’t; they think that life owes them one. I wanted to show the tension and conflict between them.”
Blerta Zeqiri: “We edited our memories”
The Marriage from the section “Where Are You My Love?” was screened at Cinemaximum City’s Nişantaşı with the participation of the director Blerta Zeqiri and one of the lead actors Alban Ukaj. Director Zeqiri talked about the scriptwriting process: “The screenplay was written in a very long time. I wrote it together with my partner; he is also the producer and co-writer. Our actors became involved in the process starting from the synopsis; we developed the characters together. We even went back to our old lovers in our minds and put them into it as well. We can say that we edited our memories. (…) The film was financially supported by film funds from Kosovo and the minority partner Albania.” The actor Alban Ukaj said: “The film was the most watched film in Kosovan film history. We weren’t expecting it but people from every generation, of our age, of our parents’ age and young people all went to see the film. We were anxious before each gala but we always received positive feedback.”
A coming of age story…
Ava from the section “No More Flowers” was screened at Cinemaximum Zorlu Center with the participation of the director Léa Mysius and the lead actress Noée Abita. The director tells the coming of age story of a teenage girl with a complex narration and she commented on the film: “This is my first feature film. The same goes for many people who worked for the film, including our lead actress Noée… I was trained for scriptwriting and this screenplay was my dissertation. We shot the film in southeast France.” 17-year-old Noée Abita who is just about to begin her acting career also commented on her preparation process for the film: “We worked on body language for a long while. I first needed to learn about Ava’s body. Because her field of view was limited, the movement of her eyes and her manner of walking were very important. Once I’d gotten to know those things, the rest was easy.”
Happiness Despite Everything
The Shoelace from the section “Out of Competition” was screened at Beyoğlu Sineması with the participation of the director Görkem Yeltan and the film crew. Yeltan, Asuman Kafaoğlu Büke and Yalçın Akyıldız wrote the screenplay of the film together and Yeltan commented: “We wanted to create a family and make it grow. We talk about family creation in this film. We worked with the same team from the beginning of the screenplay.” The director Yeltan said that she wants to tell many other stories about family and added: “In the first one, a family was ready for us. And in the second, I wanted to show what it means to create a family. In this film, we wanted to show that there’s happiness despite everything.”
A Neapolitan musical, comedy and action from Pivio
Love and Bullets from the section “Antidepressant” was screened at Cinemaximum City’s with the participation of Pivio who composed the soundtrack music of the film with Aldo de Scalzi, and who is also known for the soundtrack of the film Hamam. In this festival talk that he participated in with Korhan Futacı, Pivio talked about how composing for a regular film differs so much from composing for a musical, and explained: “When the film is a musical, the music is part of the screenplay. Since it’s part of the text, you need to prepare the music to be used on stage beforehand, if not as a final version for the actors. Almost all of the songs in this film are sung in Neapolitan; it’s a different language from Italian. The actors also need time to become fluent in that language. The songs you compose need to match the rhythm of the film too. You can prepare one version for the shooting, and then finalize it with the orchestra in the post-production.” There will be another screening of Love and Bullets on Tuesday, April 17, at Rexx Sineması. Don’t miss it!
The festival’s short films met the audience
Wicked Girl, There’s No Anatolia, East Side, Arin, Museum of Broken Love, I Don’t Believe in You But Then There’s Gravity from the Program I of the section “National Short Film Competition” were screened at Pera Museum Auditorium with the participation of the director and the film crews.
The director of the film I Don’t Believe in You But Then There’s Gravity, Umut Subaşı said: “My starting point was the desire to tell the stories of people living in the same building, in architecturally similar houses, leading different lives that are actually similar. Then the idea of using gravity as a metaphor came about.”
Mizgin Müjde Arslan, the director of Arin, said that the film is based on a true story: “It happened to the parents of a Chinese friend of mine. It looks easy to say ‘where am I’ but as easy as it may be, it brings together your own history and culture. It’s a story of loss and looking for another loss after one…”
Murathan Özbek, explained that the idea of Museum of Broken Love came from a museum: “It had left a strong impression on me. Every object has a story; but you write that story yourself, it is not written down. When I was little, there were the stories written in the paper of bubble gums. I used to try to make them come true. It’s a simple act actually; giving a cup of tea to someone, hugging them, putting a sweater on their shoulder just so they won’t get cold… But when you grow up, egos get involved in it; we make the concept of love a big thing but it’s actually quite simple.”
The films from the Program II of the section “National Short Film Competition”, Hit Me Baby, Soil, The Knights’ Templer, Goat, The All Seeing Blind, The Tape were shown at Pera Museum Auditorium with the directors and the film crews.
The director of Soil, Alican Durbaş said that the story moving on the split screen was a visual and formal decision: “I wanted to show the different stages of the process simultaneously. The man is constantly digging a grave in the first part, and the other man is trying to get to the grave. In the second part, the one digging the grave begins to fill it with soil, and the one reaching the grave returns home. I tried to narrate a world of 9 pictures through this contrariety of the action.
Arda Ekşigil, the director of The Knights’ Templar, said that the film was inspired from an actual incident that happened to him: “We had to work in a very small space; we suffered during the shooting. That moment in the end happened to me in a barber shop. That’s why I wanted to put it in the end.”
Boğaç Uzun, the director of the film Goat, answered the question about the cultural background of the film: “Just like I cannot live as I wish, there are many other peoples who cannot live as they wish or speak. I thought about ‘what kind of questions can be asked for which dialogues’. What I like most about Goat is that it’s about contacting. Perhaps we will be able to resolve certain things by contacting.”
Semih Gülen, the director of Hit Me Baby said: “Even though we don’t see the knockout I think the feeling of losing is conveyed to the audience, because we also see physical violence during the henna ceremony. When it falls onto the black, another adventure begins.
Shirin Neshat: “My biggest inspiration is Middle Eastern women”
Iranian-born, New Yorker artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat gave the last talk of the festival at Yapı Kredi Kültür Sanat with film critic Esin Küçüktepepınar. The artist is also among the festival’s “Human Rights in Cinema Competition” this year, and she talked about her works of photography and video, and shared her experience in filmmaking.
Neshat said that she has a poetic language, creates works that are intertwined with literature and history, and added that there’s always a melancholy and darkness in her works reflecting her own life experience: “First of all, I’m an artist; then I’m a woman artist; then I’m an Iranian woman artist. My biggest inspiration is Middle Eastern women. I associate my works with their lives of struggle.” She also commented on the use of poetry on photographs: “I like writing on photographs because those poems become the voice of those bodies. Music in a way…”
The artist shot Women without Men first, and then Looking for Oum Kulthum which was part of the festival this year: “I always choose the most difficult projects. There’s no film about Oum Kulthum, not even by Egyptian filmmakers, because she is still a sacred figure. We make films with very limited budgets. That’s why I want to especially show that they’re not perfect. Sometimes you spend six years working on something and become successful but this success is not perfect. That’s why when we begin making a film, we know that it’s not going to be seen by many people. We don’t make these films so everyone would watch and like it. When I’m writing the screenplay, I always get support; more importantly I think about ‘how I can convey this story to the audience.’ I can say that I’ve been influenced by such directors as Kiarostami, Bergman and Tarkovsky.” Neshat commented on why there are not as many women in cinema industry: “The stories women want to tell are very different from the ones that men tell. The audience want to see what men want to tell.”
The artist had to migrate from her country after the revolution in 1979, and said that she sees Turkey as a substitute for Iran where she cannot return or take her works anymore. Neshat also said that migration is a continuous process: “I think that if I hadn’t experienced these things, I wouldn’t have become an artist. I don’t want to make a film about Iran someday; I don’t think I could. But I will always create as an Iranian artist.” The artist also said that she sees her art as a means to be the voice to some other people and to change the world.”
Neshat also shared that, in order to take her cinematic experience to an upper level, she has an idea of a project in which she can bring together cinematographic elements with visual art, and the audience would walk inside the film.”