Backdrop Cities

6 April 2013

Click for screening schedule.

Istanbul Modern Cinema presents a film selection entitled “Background Cities” in conjunction with the exhibition “VitrA Contemporary Architecture Series Presents: PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB” on view in Istanbul Modern’s Pop-up Exhibition Area between 7 February-7 April. Focusing on the concept of the holiday, the show addresses the theme of “space in film” through this selection. In the films selected from Turkish cinema, cities play the leading roles, the drama is constructed around that space, and the characters exist only within those spaces. 


Our Grand Despair (Bizim Büyük Çaresizliğimiz), 2011

Turkey, 35mm, Color, 102’

Director: Seyfi Teoman

Cast: İlker Aksum, Mehmet Ali Nuroğlu, Taner Birsel, Baki Davrak, Güneş Sayın

Language: Turkish

One of the entries in the Berlinale competition, this bittersweet comedy portrays a long-time friendship between Ender and his pal, Çetin. Now in their late 30’s, the pair have enjoyed a very close, platonic bond since high school. An adaptation from Ankara-based author Barış Bıçakçı’s novel, the film is a love-triangle set in a snowy Ankara. They are soon joined by the traumatized Nihal, sister of their friend Fikret, who needs somewhere to stay following the death of her parents in a car crash. They take some time to adapt to a female presence. Before long, the inevitable happens and they are both falling in love with Nihal each unaware of the other’s love. The French style love triangle leaves the audience with a peculiar sense of relief in the end.


Cholera Street (Ağır Roman), 1997

Turkey, 35mm, Color, 120’

Director: Mustafa Altıoklar

Cast: Müjde Ar, Okan Bayülgen, Mustafa Uğurlu, Savaş Dinçel, Küçük İskender

Adapted from the novel of the same name by Metin Kaçan who died recently, the film is about life on Cholera Street. Often making references to the lifestyle of gypsies with its sets and costumes, the film is about a group of people who try to survive as best they can on the margins of life. As is true everywhere, here too there is a way of doing things. One day, Arap Sado cedes control over the street to Salih who is the younger son in the family and is not really ready for such responsibility. Depicting slices from the lives that oscillate between the simplicity of life and the ruthlessness of people, Cholera Street is about people who live their present lives at random and are heedless of the future.