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A Touch of Thread!

 

May 16-26, 2019

Istanbul Modern Cinema presents a film program in parallel with “The Event of a Thread” exhibition. Curated by Müge Turan, the program traces the journey of textiles throughout the history of cinema, and includes films that address the policies of the fashion industry, films from different periods and genres about the relationship between cinema and fabrics and paint as well as films that focus on costumes as a defining feature of characters in the storylines. One of the most important directors of Czech New Wave, Vera Chytilová’s Daisies (Sedmikrásky) deconstructs the dresses, colors and patterns that deal with the texture of cinema to address the concept of fabric from a feminist perspective, while Machines takes place in a huge textiles factory in India’s Gujarat region. In this journey into the dark heart of the global textile industry, we hear workers and their modern day stories of slavery.

Clothes are always ideological. And the winner of this year’s “Best Costume” Academy Award, the Afro-futurist superhero film Black Panther is a perfect example of this. Adding an alternative layer to the world of Marvel, the film seeks a response to the question, “How would African societies dress if they had not been colonized in the past,” and comes to the fore with costumes inspired by the traditional cultures of different African tribes and their transformations into super hero outfits. The film’s costume designer Ruth E. Carter uses garments weft in Ghana and integrates them with the technique of 3D printing. Another highlight from the “A Touch of Thread!” program is Muhsin Ertuğrul’s final film, The Carpetmaker Girl (Halıcı Kız), which is also the first film in color from the cinema of Turkey. The story begins in Isparta, and travels around Anatolia and depicts carpet making in long takes through the camera that has just recently discovered color.

 


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IN FABRIC, 2018

United Kingdom | DCP, Color, 118’ | English

Director: Peter Strickland
Cast: Gwendoline Christie, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Caroline Catz

Known for his unique style as exemplified by films such as Berberian Sound Studio and the Duke of Burgundy, Peter Strickland’s new In Fabric is a reference to the Italian “giallo” films from the 1970s. Strickland states that he sought to “find out what kind of a relationship people have with clothes,” and portrays the state of hypnosis of consumption society as he follows the life of a cursed, red evening dress that fits everyone who puts it on. On sale at the D&S department store where everything is a bit off and even haunting from the sales team to the owner, the dress’s first subject is Sheila, an unhappy widow who is followed by the washing machine repairman Reg and his wife Babs.

 

BLACK PANTHER, 2018

USA, South Africa | Blu-ray, Color, 134' | English, Swahili, Nama, Xhosa

Director: Ryan Coogler
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o

A secret country in Africa with highly technological powers, Wakanda’s fate is imperiled when an old nemesis of King T’Challa appears. T’Challa will use this to his advantage, as a tool when fighting with those who want his throne while also warding off his old enemy in order to protect the wellbeing of his people and the traditional values of his country. Adding an alternative layer to the universe of Marvel, a leader of popular culture cinema, Black Panther comes to the fore with its costumes inspired by the traditional cultures of different African tribes and their transformations into super hero outfits.

 

 

SUNSET, 2018
Hungary, France | DCP, Color, 142’ | Hungarian, German

Director: László Nemes
Cast: Susanne Wuest, Urs Rechn, Vlad Ivanov

In his second film, László Nemes takes the viewers to the period of World War I. Growing up as an orphan, Irisz returns to the famous hat store Leiter in Budapest, founded by her parents, whom she has never met, and asks for a job. But the new owner of the store rejects her. The young woman goes to the place where other workers of the store are staying at and finds out that she has a brother, which prompts her to find out more about her past. Throughout the film, Nemes uses long takes, close ups of the film’s protagonist and low voiced dialogues as if to show everyone has secrets. The hat in the film represents a civilization that conceals the degeneration and conflict of Hungarian society before the war. 

 

 

MACHINES, 2016

India, Germany, France | DCP, Color, 71’ | Hindi, English

Director: Rahul Jain

Rahul Jain’s first film premiered at the IDFA and was subsequently awarded the Cinematography Award at the Sundance Film Festival. Jain depicts the heavy working conditions at a textiles factory in India’s Gujarat region while he portrays the different colored paints as they cascade just like a creamy waterfall in the middle of the dreary colorless factory and its deafening sounds. The director highlights the social context of the issue of industrial labor in earnest as he maintains his artistic approach.

 

DAISIES (SEDMIKRÁSKY), 1966

Czechoslovakia | HDD, Color, 74’ |Czech

Director: Vera Chytilová
Cast: Ivana Karbanova, Jitka Cerhova, Marie Cesková

One of the pioneering directors of Czech New Wave, Vera Chytilová,’s Daisies (Sedmikrásky, 1966) focuses on the lives of two young women who are both named Marie, and their rebellion against the oppressive and corrupt society. The film addresses materialism with an anarchist attitude, and centers on the weathered individual whose clothes as well as body and soul are cut through with scissors. The film is considered to be one of the most impressive examples of feminist cinema and follows these two women who seek to challenge the symbols of wealth and bourgeoisie, and their adventures that are still as relevant today as they were in 1966 when the film was shot. Following the film’s initial presentation, the film’s screenings were forbidden and Vera Chytilová was banned from working for 10 years.

 

 

THE CARPETMAKER GIRL (HALICI KIZ), 1953

Turkey | DCP, Color, 87’ | Turkish

Director:Muhsin Ertuğrul
Cast: Heyacan Başaran, Agah Hün, Sadri Alışık, Münir Özkul

As the first full-length film in color from the cinema of Turkey, The Carpetmaker Girl is also the first film that was produced with the support from Yapı Kredi and Doğan Kardeş publications. 66 years after it was produced, the film has now been restored again by Yapı Kredi, and depicts the story of beautiful Gül, a carpet maker girl who has had a run of bad luck. Starting off in Isparta, this Anatolian journey begins when Gül decides to run away after she loses her mother and is harassed by the owner of the weaving workshop. Because of her beauty Gül faces a lot of problems in Istanbul as well, and finally seeks solace away from people. In his final film, Muhsin Ertuğrul addresses the issue of the modern women, while he uses his camera – having recently discovered color – to observe threads and the making of carpets using long takes.

 

THE RED SHOES, 1948

United Kingdom | DCP, Color, 134’ | English, French, Russian

Director: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Cast:  Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring, Esmond Knight

Inspired by the famous Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale with the same title, The Red Shoes was well-received for its successful ballet performances and acting as well as its use of color and impressive cinematography at the time of its opening in 1948. Boris Lermentov, the director of a famous ballet company promises the aspiring ballet dancer Vicky that he will make her a prima ballerina. While Vicky falls in love with Julian who has composed a new score for The Red Shoes ballet, Boris has feelings for this talented young woman. Stuck in the middle of a love triangle, Vicky finds herself torn between her own happiness and her passion for ballet that seems to border on an obsession. As the red ballet shoes dominate Vicky with their mysterious force, the same red offered by the color palette of Technicolor arrests the viewers. Offering a successful visual, musical and narrative cinematic experience, the costumes worn by the characters also add to the film’s dramatic structure.

 

 

UNTIL I LOSE MY BREATH (NEFESİM KESİLENE KADAR), 2015

Turkey | Blu-ray, Color, 94’ | Turkish

Director: Emine Emel Balcı
Cast: Esem Madra, Rıza Akın, Yavuz Pekman, Pınar Gök

Nominated for the Best First Feature Award at the Berlinale Film Festival in 2015, Emine Emel Balcı’s film follows the story of Selma who works at a textile workshop to save money. Living with her violence-prone and macho brother in law and her sister who turns a blind eye to her husband’s actions, Serap is unhappy and wants to go and live with her father who is a long-distance driver. When her father ignores her wish, the young woman’s life will take a different turn. With an impressive language, the film addresses the idea of being a woman in this brutal industry.

 

 

STRINGS, 2004

Denmark, Sweden, Norway, United Kingdom | HDD, Color, 88’| English, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish

Director: Anders Rønnow Klarlund
Voice over: James McAvoy, Catherine McCormack, Julian Glover, Derek Jakobi

We’re in a universe where we are all connected and addicted to the ground and where puppets live on strings that can reach the sky. In this world where life flows through strings that hang from heaven, a hundred year long war has been taking place between the two races. According to the prophecy, a hero who is estranged to himself and his people will put an end to this ruthless war that has caused the rupturing of thousands of strings from heaven and the burning of the skies. A production which took four years, 115 puppets and 150 puppet masters working a captivating puppet animation depicting a legend where puppets live attached to strings that reach infinity...

 

SHORTS

 

THE ARTIST IS ABSENT, 2015

USA | HDD, Color, 12’| English, French

Director: Alison Chernick

A short documentary about the Belgian fashion designer Martin Margiela, who has worked with household names such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Raf Simons among others throughout his fashion design career, in addition to establishing his own fashion house.  Margiela has always been a mysterious figure who has rarely shown his face during his shows or in the media. Margiela maintains his mysteriousness in this documentary as well, and yields the floor to others who know him.

 

THE DANCING FLEECE, 1951

United Kingdom |DCP, Color, 19’| No dialogue

Director: Frederick Wilson

Cast: June Brae, Joan Harris

In his dream, a wool producer sees himself as part of a puppet show where he is surrounded by attractive women from different countries around the world. He flirts with the women, but fails to get any response. Using a magic spell he turns the women into sheep and takes them to his factory with the intent of showing them how important he is for them. At the factory, the women see how wool is produced, and beg him for the new and beautiful clothes that will be made using these wool fabrics. The wool producer grants their wishes and his dream ends.

 

THE SILK INDUSTRY IN JAPAN (INDUSTRIE DE LA SOIE AU JAPON), 1914

France | DCP, Black & White, 10’ | No dialogue

Director: Unknown

A short but detailed documentary about the production of silk fabrics in Japan in 1914.

 

FEMININE BEAUTY (BELLEZZA FEMMINILE), 1952

The Netherlands| DCP, Color, 2’| Italian

Director: Unknown

When none of the men ask her to dance, the woman goes to Dr. Faust and asks for the help of “The Devil”. Contrary to the ordinary, this devil can also contribute to wellness with its special powers. And, the solution is for the woman to wear more vibrant colors!

 

MADE IN KOTA, 1945-55 (?)

Indonesia | DCP, Black & White, 11’ | Indonesian

Director: Unknown

Made in Kota is a propaganda film that calls masses of people to cooperate in uniting as one nation. The short film includes footage taken at different textile workshops, people who have come to donate textile products for recycling and numerous women working on different stages of fabric production. Various textile machines, women washing fabrics, children playing games, doing gymnastics or farming as well as people eating are amongst the scenes depicted throughout the film.

 

JOBARD AND HER MOTHER IN LAW (JOBARD ET SA BELLE-MERE), 1911

France| DCP, Black & White, 6’| No dialogue

Director: Emile Cohl

Cast: Lucien Cazalls

Child at heart Jobard plays games with his mother-in-law, whom he is not on good terms with.

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