June 20-30, 2019
Istanbul Modern Cinema presents a “fanaticism” themed program including films that range between comedy and tragedy, and in relation to how media communications define our behavior and make the boundaries between the things we consume and ourselves increasingly more transparent. The multitude of stories in the selection investigate the boundaries between being a “fan” and identifying oneself, and show how fanaticism is a multilayered and complicated concept. Among the films in the selection, there is Rodney Ascher’s documentary Room 237, which takes its title from the hotel room in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Including conversations with fans, academicians and specialists of Kubrick’s film, and their interpretations and analyses about what takes place behind that door, Room 237 proves how the magic of cinema has a different effect on everyone. Other films in the program include, a favorite at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival,Brigsby Bear (2017), which follows the story of a man who was abducted when he was a child and his relationship with a television show that changed his life, and Ken Loach’s Looking For Eric (2009), a simple and discreet story depicting the relationship between an ordinary man and a famous soccer player. Another film in the program is Müslüm Baba’s Children (Müslüm Babanın Evlatları) about Müslüm Gürses,the godfather of arabesque music,who passed away in 2013 and his avid fans, also known as Müslümites (Müslümcü). The Fanatic program also presents a selection under the title Audiences are Fanatics! ( Seyirci Fanatiktir!) including short films about the fans of Türkan Şoray, Filiz Akın and Yılmaz Güney, big names from the cinema of Turkey, who were included in the “One Hundred Years of Love” exhibition organized by Istanbul Modern in 2014.
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I USED TO BE NORMAL: A BOYBAND FANGIRL STORY, 2018
Australia | DCP, Color, 96’ | English
Director: Jessica Leski
Focusing on four diverse women to address the admiration for “boy bands” from different periods, this documentary is the first feature length film by Jessica Leski, who is a fan of One Direction. This heart-warming documentary uses a candid and witty language to focus on the rehabilitative quality of these four bands: The Beatles, Take That, Back Street Boys and One Direction, and the way they have transformed the lives of these women aged between 16 and 64. Screaming at the top of their lungs in concerts, establishing fan clubs and meticulously collecting newspaper clippings, posters and photographs, these women show viewers their careless and infinite love for these bands.
THE DEATH OF STALIN, 2017
USA, UK, France | DCP, Color, 107’ | English
Cast: Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Jeffrey Tambor
Moscow, 1953. Following Stalin’s death, there is a great emptiness in the upper echelons of the government of the Soviet Union. Members of the Council of Ministers try to maintain order in this absence as they simultaneously scramble for power with unthinkable moves with the intention of getting rid of one another. Famous for his political satires, director Armanda Iannucci’s comedy filled with absurdities is an adaptation from the graphic novel with the same name.
BRIGSBY BEAR, 2017
USA, China | Blu-ray, Color, 97’ | English
Cast: Kyle Mooney, Mark Hamill, Jorge Lendeborg Jr.
James has been kept in isolation in an underground bunker by his foster family. He has spent every single day of his 25 years of life watching a children’s TV show titled “Brigsby Bear Adventures”, a show he is absolutely infatuated with. When he is freed from the bunker, James has to quickly face the realities of life. What will help him most in getting used to his new life is a version of this TV show that James will film himself. Well-received at the Sundance Film Festival where it premiered, Brigsby Bear is an inspirational film that celebrates the creativity borne out of lives spent in isolated cultures.
INGRID GOES WEST, 2017
USA | HDD, Color, 98’ | English
Director: Matt Spicer
Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O'Shea Jackson Jr.
Struggling with obsessions and at the verge of a nervous breakdown, Ingrid has no friends. The only thing she can manage is to “make friends” through social media. Her new obsession is the Instagram phenomenon Taylor, who seemingly has the perfect Iife. When Ingrid decides that she can do everything in her power to befriend Taylor, her attitude will start to change drastically, and she will go through a transformation where she questions her own life. A black comedy that humorously critiques the power of social media to shape human relationships and habits, Ingrid Goes West is the winner the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival.
MÜSLÜM BABA’S CHILDREN (MÜSLÜM BABA’NIN EVLATLARI), 2013
Turkey| HDD, Color, 53’ | Turkish
Director: Vuslat Saraçoğlu
Müslüm Gürses, who was known as the father of arabesque music, passed away in 2003. In his final years he expanded his fan base beyond arabesque aficionados through his interpretations of songs from different musical genres. This documentary is about his fans, who were known as Müslümcüler (Müslümites) and constituted an unwaveringly faithful audience. It shows us the experience of being a fan, the identification with the artist, which we have all known in one form or another. We are brought closer to Müslüm Baba’s Children, who are less well-known and less respected than his later audiences.
ROOM 237, 2012
USA | DCP, Color, 102’ |English
Director: Rodney Ascher
Cast: Bill Blakemore, Geoffrey Cocks, Juli Kearns
Taking its title from the room number in Stanley Kubrick’s legendary film The Shining, Room 237 is an investigation of Kubrick’s film by its serious fans. Incorporating analyses and comments by academicians as well as the film’s avid fans, the documentary claims that in addition to producing a masterpiece of suspense, Kubrick was also providing a variety of messages about the Holocaust during the Second World War and the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. Room 237 shows how cinema can make everyone feel differently like magic.
LOOKING FOR ERIC, 2009
UK, France, Italy | HDD, Color, 116’ | English, French
Director: Ken Loach
Cast: Steve Evets, Eric Cantona, Stephanie Bishop
Once a talented dancer, Eric is now a middle-aged man who is stressed out, angry and miserable. With two problematic stepsons, a daughter whose mother Eric left years ago and a grandchild, this man can’t get rid of his negativity despite the efforts of his friends. The person who suddenly appears one day to give him motivation and advice about life is his idol, the famous soccer star, Eric Cantona. From that point onwards, the star athlete will become Eric’s extraordinary life coach who appears occasionally to support him in transforming his life for becoming a happier individual.
USA | DVD, Color, 86’ | English, Klingonese
Director: Roger Nygard
Cast: Denise Crosby, Frank D'Amico, Barbara Adams
Trekkies focuses on the fans of the TV series and film Star Trek. The film brings together fans of all ages and occupations as well as the more famous Star Trek devotees, such as Barbara Adams who even wears her “Starfleet” costume to work and is known as “the commander” amongst her friends. For instance, a dentist from Orlando has been designed his clinic completely with a Star Trek theme and works wearing Star Trek costumes everyday along with the whole clinic team. Another devotee, Richard Kronfeld on the other hand believes that all of the predictions in Star Trek are slowly beginning to be realized along with the advancements in computer technology. Kronfeld has personally recreated many of the Star Trek technologies at his house and even drives around in a small automobile that he has built after the Total Life Support Unit used by Captain Pike…
EYES WIDE SHUT, 1999
UK, USA | HDD, Color, 159' | English
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Cast: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Todd Field
Master director Stanley Kubrick’s last film before his untimely death, which he could not see on the cinema screens, Eyes Wide Shut focuses on a night filled with dreams, fantasies and nightmares of Bill and Alice, a long-time married couple. Signature Kubrick lighting, his idiosyncratic tracking shots and topics that he likes to focus on are all present in this final film by the director. Even well known New York streets take on an eerie air in this movie, and when Alice starts telling her husband about her fantasies about a man she met a year ago, Bill makes it his priority to chase his own erotic adventure. Bill will run into all kinds of twisted relationships, decay, betrayal and desire at a “party” where he must wear a costume and know the secret code to enter.
*This film contains scenes of sexuality/violence that might disturb some viewers.
FUN WITHOUT LIMITS (SPASS OHNE GRENZEN), 1998
Austria | HDD, Color, 45' | German
Director: Ulrich Seidl
Cast: Dorothea Spohler-Claussen
Fun Without Limits by the Australian director Ulrich Seidl, known for the quirky characters and stories he brings to the movie screens, focuses on Dorothea and Europa-park, the biggest theme park in Germany that she loves to go to. Dorothea says that she has been to theme parks across the world 795 times and that this is her 89th visit to Europa-Park, adding that she feels at home in theme parks and that the sadness she feels when its time to leave is akin to being separated from her mother.
Wtih the Contributions of
THE FAN (DER FAN), 1982
West Germany | Blu-ray, Color, 92' | German
Director: Eckhart Schmidt
Cast: Désirée Nosbusch, Bodo Steiger, Simone Brahmann
The film’s protagonist Simone looks like a normal teenager, yet she is a true fanatic. Her admiration for a pop singer named “R” has now become an obstacle that keeps her from eating, going to school and go about her daily life; her admiration has turned into a form of worship. Everyday, she waits in front of the post office in expectation for a response to her letter to her idol, and when she actually meets the famous “R” at an autograph session, she faints from excitement. After a while when “R” admits that he doesn’t like Simone, events take on a different turn. Fanatic unapologetically addresses the question of “What happens to the violent energy of unrequited love when this love has turned into an obsession?”
*This film contains scenes of sexuality/violence that might disturb some viewers.
HEAVY METAL PARKING LOT, 1986
USA | HDD, Color, 17’| English
Director: John Heyn, Jeff Krulik
At the beginning of the 1990s, Heavy Metal Parking Lot became a cult film for the “underground” music scene. The documentary contains a variety of interviews made with the fans of Judas Priest, at the car park of a concert venue in Maryland right before a show of the famous heavy metal band. Rumor has it that the documentary was also a favorite of the members of Nirvana who used to watch it on their tour bus.
AUDIENCES ARE FANATICS! (SEYİRCİ FANATİKTİR!), 2014
Turkey | HDD, Color, 35’| Turkish
Moviegoers are fanatics. They run after their favorite artists. Collections of movie paraphernalia are endless: pictures of film stars inserted in chocolate bar and bubble gum packages, calendars featuring film stars as well as all kinds of cinematic documentation and objects that devoted movie fans desire. The stars that they admire have become their reasons for existence. Istanbul Modern interviewed three “fanatic” fans that were hosted at the “One Hundred Years of Love” exhibition. Compiling these interviews, The Audience is Fanatic features Pınar Çekirge, who remains devastated by films in which “the imaginary heroin of his childhood” dies; Metin Şamdan, proudly nicknamed “Şorayholic”; and Vadullah Taş, whose passion led him to collect some “five truckloads” of archives on Yılmaz Güney.