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Onur Tükel : Absurd in Cinema

 

26-29 October, 2017

Istanbul Modern Cinema hosts New York based Turkish director Onur Tükel who wrote, directed and occasionally even starred in his independent films. To this day, Onur Tükel has directed 11 feature films including Summer of Blood and Applesauce, and wrote several comic books and novels. For the first time, seven of his films –  including Catfight, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year, and his latest film The Misogynists, to be screened in Turkey one day after its world premiere – are shown as part of the “2nd Denizbank First Script First Film Competition” project. Painter, actor, writer and director Onur Tükel’s style have been compared to that of Woody Allen, as Tükel’s urban comedies turn a critical eye on society as much as the director himself, featuring neurotic characters, loudmouthed stories and black humor. Mostly shot guerilla style, Tükel’s autobiographic films focus on daily life, relationships between men and women, the artist in the process of creation, urban life and being a minority in the United States with a highly creative and witty attitude.


 

 

DING-A-LING-LESS, 2001
USA |ProRes, Color, 80’ |English
Cast: Kirk Wilson, Robert Longstreet, Mark Darby Robinson

Jack Peterson is a solitary birdhouse builder who has been left without a penis due to a tragic accident during birth. Although he is quite hopeless, he desires to live a simple life and to fall in love. Everything changes when an eccentric doctor enters his life. Soon enough, Jack begins making plans about an exciting future ahead.

 

RICHARD’S WEDDING, 2012
USA |ProRes, Color, 88’ |English
Cast: Jennifer Prediger, Josephine Decker, Lawrence Michael Levine

Richard’s Wedding, which Onur Tükel shot 6 years after his film, The Pigs, portrays the story of a group of friends who come together for a small wedding in Central Park.Tükel stars as the character Tuna in this film filled with racist, selfish and arrogant characters, which all seem to mouth off without any social restraint. And all of these people meet up in New York to attend the wedding in Central Park. When it turns out that there isn’t anyone to perform the wedding ceremony, people begin to get wired up, and things get completely out of hand as rain starts pouring down.

 

 

SUMMER OF BLOOD, 2014
USA |ProRes, Color, 86’ |English
Cast: Onur Tükel, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Melodie Sisk

Unsuccessful in work, sex and relationships, Erik Sparrow is a 40-year-old man who has been dumped by his girlfriend. And, he has commitment issues. But when Erik meets a vampire in an alley, his whole life begins to change. Summer of Blood is a film about loneliness and the fear of dying alone.

 

 

APPLESAUCE, 2015
USA |ProRes, Color, 91’ |English
Cast: Max Casella, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Jennifer Prediger, Onur Tükel

“What’s the worst thing you have ever done?” When two close married couples begin responding to this question, their lives turn into a hilarious mess of betrayal, seduction and dismembered body parts.  Comedy, drama and black humor come together in this film, which was inspired by a true story.

 

 

ABBY SINGER/SONGWRITER, 2015
USA |ProRes, Color, 75’ |English
Cast: Onur Tükel, Jamie Block, Stephen Gurewitz

Actor and musician Jamie Block star along Onur Tükel in this semi-fictitious film about a filmmaker who seeks to make a living by directing movies and Jamie Block, a stockbroker whose real passion is to become a famous musician, who both move to New York and begin working together producing music videos for the wannabe rock star. The film’s title is a tribute to the legendary Hollywood producer Abby Singer, whose techniques for cutting down production costs are still attributed to him, even though these techniques are not used in the music videos we witness the production of throughout the film.

 

 

CATFIGHT, 2016
USA |ProRes, Color, 91’ |English
Cast: Anne Heche, Alicia Silverstone, Sandra Oh, Amy Hill

Veronica and Ashley, who have held a grudge against one another since the day they met in college, run into each other years later at a party. Invited to the party through her rich husband, Veronica is an unpleasant character who can’t hold her drink. On the other hand, Ashley is a grumpy artist trying to prove herself while struggling to make a living by working as a barmaid at the party. When the two women run into each other at the party, a huge row erupts between them, which sends Veronica into a coma that lasts two years. And, this row is only the beginning. Renowned actresses Sandra Oh and Anne Heche star in what Onur Tükel describes as his “most important film”, which he shot as a critique of the war in Iraq initiated by the United States 14 years ago.

 

 

THE MISOGYNISTS, 2017
USA |ProRes, Color, 85’ | English
Cast: Dylan Baker, Jamie Block, Christine Campbell, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Ivana Milicevic

Onur Tükel’s latest film The Misogynists, a social critique portraying the country’s current state, takes place in a hotel room during the screening of the last presidential election results in the United States. Trump-supporting, lonely businessman Cameron, whose marriage of 35 years has just ended, is accompanied by a variety of people with different political viewpoints. Just as it feels like the testosterone level in the room cannot get any higher, the night becomes even more complicated when two reckless prostitutes living their own existential crises enter the room. Tükel’s recent film is presented as part of this program only one day after its worldwide premier. 

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