Count Us In!


November 29 – December 16, 2018

Istanbul Modern Cinema presents the seventh edition of its program “Count Us In!” which brings together newly released films from Turkey. This year’s program features films that made a mark in the past year and won awards at festivals. On a quest for new forms of language, identity, or representation, these films give a place to the “other” in society and constitute a polyphonic selection through their stories and their explorations in filmmaking.

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Turkey | DCP, Black & White, 114’ |Turkish

Directors: Deniz Tortum, Can Eskinazi

In the summer of 2014, an amateur rock band sets out on a tour of Turkey to share their music with wider audiences. They will give concerts in different settings, in café gardens, in parks, and even in the midst of nature. Reaching people of different cultures living in different landscapes, their music will win new admirers in some places and will be regarded as strange in others. While telling the story of these young musicians, who are passionately devoted to the music they love and look with hope to the world they live in, directors Can Eskinazi and Deniz Tortum also cast a warm, sincere and humorous glance at the current times Turkey is going through.




Turkey | DCP, Color, 95’ |Turkish

Director:Mahmut Fazıl Coşkun
Cast:Ali Seçkiner Alıcı, Tarhan Karagöz, Murat Kılıç

Mahmut Fazıl Coşkun’s latest film The Announcement, which had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, tells the tragicomic story of four military officers whose only mission during anattempted coup in 1963 is to take over the Istanbul Radio and announce the coup. Discharged from the army, these four officers spend the night trying to communicate with Ankara while expecting to see tanks on the streets and the coup taking place at full speed. But they encounter a number of obstacles that prevent them from making their announcement on the radio. A long night, interspersed with quite comical moments, awaits these officers, who are ever confident that the uniforms on their backs and the weapons in their hands will open every door for them.




Turkey | DCP, Color, 65’ |Turkish, Kurdish

Director:Ali Kemal Çınar
Cast:Osman Çınar, Fatma Yıldız, İhsan Şakar

Arada is the fourth feature film by Ali Kemal Çınar, who has become known in recent years for his peculiar cinematic language. The film follows Osman who suffers various mishaps throughout his life because he cannot do two things at once such as engaging in conversation while eating or driving. And, although he understands his mother tongue, Kurdish, he cannot speak it, but he can speak his second language, Turkish, which he cannot understand. This flaw starts leading to problems between Osman, who wants to get married, and the women he meets. He finally takes a concrete step toward overcoming his problem when he accepts a customer’s offer to help him get rid of this bothersome situation which is affecting his whole life.



ARADA, 2017

Turkey | DCP, Color, 88’ |Turkish

Director:Mu Tunç
Cast:Burak Deniz, Büşra Develi, Eriş Akman

Ozan is a young punk rocker in the 1990s in Istanbul who dreams of moving abroad and making the music he likes and releasing an album. A friend of his who owns a cassette shop tells him about a mysterious ticket that will allow him to go to California. Together with his girlfriend Lara, Ozan sets out on a crazy search to find this ticket during which they will come across the many faces of the city, from hookah lounges and house parties to discos and grind concerts. In this first feature, inspired by his own coming-of-age story, Mu Tunç tells a captivating narrative about two daring lovers stuck between dreams and reality and about their reckonings with their city.



BORÇ (DEBT), 2018

Turkey | DCP, Color, 95’ |Turkish

Director:Vuslat Saraçoğlu
Cast:Serdar Orçin, İpek Türktan Kaynak, Rüçhan Çalışkur

Tufan is an ordinary man who lives with his wife and daughter in Eskişehir where he works at a small printing shop. One night, their elderly next-door neighbor Huriye falls ill so he takes her to the hospital. Learning that she shouldn’t stay by herself for a while, he convinces his wife that they should take care of Huriye in their home. When the printing shop doesn’t pay Tufan his salary on time and their sick neighbor stays at their home longer than expected, Tufan finds himself in an impasse. How far can the limits of his “kindness” be stretched? Why do people do acts of kindness? Do they expect something in return when they do? And what happens when their expectations are not fulfilled? A debut feature which won the award for Best Film at the Istanbul Film Festival, Debt addresses questions we face every day in our lives as much with sincerity and spareness as with depth.




Germany, Austria | DCP, Color, 122’ |Turkish, Kurdish, English, German, French, Spanish

Director:Hüseyin Tabak

Ever since his student years, Hüseyin Tabak had been dreaming of filming a documentary about Yılmaz Güney. Preproduction, filming, and editing took a total of seven years and finally his documentary, The Legend of The Ugly King, is ready. We watch the now legendary artist Yılmaz Güney through archive footage and the director’s candid interviews with Yılmaz Güney’s mother, older sister, daughter, ex-wife Nebahat Çehre, and wife Fatoş Güney, as well as renowned directors and colleagues, including Costa Gavras, Michael Haneke, Yilmaz Atadeniz, and Duygu Sağıroğlu. Bringing to the fore Yılmaz Güney as a screenwriter, director, and actor as well as a revolutionary and activist, the documentary also reflects all aspects of Güney’s personality. A striking life story, The Legend of The Ugly King is an homage to a legend who was as “undaunted” as the meaning of his name in Turkish, writing screenplays even during the years he was in prison, also directing films from prison, and continuing to pursue his passions.




Turkey | DCP, Color, 78’ |Turkish

Director:Banu Sıvacı
Cast:Kemal Burak Alper, Ruhi Sarı, Demet Genç

Yusuf is an introverted young man who lives in the slums of Adana with his older sister and brother. His greatest passion in life are the pigeons he tends on the rooftop of their home. When he is away from them, he misses them and comes running back. He is the type who doesn’t speak much to anyone, preferring to sleep and even take his showers next to his pigeons rather than in his own house. His brother pressures him to find a job and earn money instead of caring for pigeons. He finally gives in and starts working at the auto repair and salvage yard, which will lead him to face the facts of life. The Pigeon had its world premiere at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival and won the award for Best Director at the Sofia Film Festival.



HALEF, 2018

Turkey | DCP, Color, 104’ |Turkish

Director:Murat Düzgünoğlu
Cast:Muhammed Uzuner, Baran Şükrü Babacan, Güler Ökten

Mahir is a math teacher who is originally from Adana but has been living in Istanbul for some time. He returns to his hometown to help his mother with the orange harvest. Here, he obstinately refuses to believe Halef, who claims he is the reincarnation of Mahir’s long deceased older brother. But many people in the village do believe Halef. Even Mahir’s mother –who is supposedly Halef’s mother both “in his previous life” and this life– has accepted the situation. Whereas Mahir, who looks at life from a logical perspective and has urban reflexes that come from living in Istanbul, thinks that all of this is absurd. But even he will find himself questioning his truths and beliefs when faced with the villagers’ deep faith in the mystical.



KAR (SNOW), 2017

Turkey | DCP, Color, 100’ |Turkish

Director:Emre Erdoğdu
Cast:Hazar Ergüçlü, Ozan Uygun, Halil Babür

Müzeyyen is a “lost soul” who is still in high school despite being in her twenties and is more interested in spending time with her group of friends who have problematic family relations like her. Although she lives with her mother, Müzeyyen barely interacts with her. One day Ali, a brother she only knew about but had never met, suddenly makes an appearance. At first, she is determined to fend off Ali, whom she blames because of the comfortable bourgeois life he leads with his father, but Ali himself is determined not to give up on his sister. Over time, he wins his sister’s favor and tries to convince her to go to Bolu with him where she could have the same opportunities as him. Directed by Emre Erdoğdu, Snow is a striking film about siblings, parent-child relationship, and gender.




Turkey | DCP, Color, 80’ |Turkish

Director:Su Baloğlu, Merve Bozcu

Merve and Su, two young women who have earned their master’s degree in film studies and are considering pursuing an academic career, decide to make a documentary of their research, which had started out as a book project. Through interviews with experienced female directors, they seek answers to the question “What does it mean to be a woman in the film industry in Turkey?” Her First is also the first film the two young women directed, and they have not forgotten to document their own experiences throughout the filming process. The result is a “documentary within a documentary” that is as personal and sincere as it is interesting.




Turkey | DCP, Color, 81’ |Turkish

Director:Rojda Akbayır

In her first film Fragments, Rojda Akbayır embarks on a personal journey stretching from Hozat to Izmir and from France to Germany, where she reunites with her father whom she hasn’t seen since she was very little. Confronting not just her personal history but the recent history of Turkey as well, this touching documentary explores subjects such as belonging, family, identity, and migration through the personal histories of family members. Along with her own experiences, Akbayır traces the traumas her family went through but which she herself did not witness or suffer, while also attempting to find ways to cope with these aches and pains.



SİBEL, 2018

Turkey, Germany, France, Luxembourg | DCP, Color, 95’ |Turkish

Director:Çağla Zencirci, Guillaume Giovanetti

Cast:Damla Sönmez, Erkan Kolçak Köstendil, Emin Gürsoy

Sibel won numerous awards at various festivals ranging from Adana and the National Competition to Locarno where it had its world premiere. The film shows us the story of a mute woman who communicates using a whistled language and lives with her father and sister in a mountain village in the Black Sea region. Her story takes a turn when she helps a fugitive she encounters in the forest. While treating of the voice and silence of women in traditional societies, the film poeticizes its subject through fairytale elements. Throughout the film, the camera follows Damla Sönmez, who is particularly notable for her physical performance, and fixes the audience’s attention on Sibel.




Turkey | DCP, Color, 93’ |Turkish

Director:Ramin Matin
Cast:Deniz Celiloğlu, Gizem Erdem, Ezgi Çelik

Ramin Matin’s latest film Siren’s Call, which made its world premiere at the 31st Tokyo Film Festival, depicts the “odyssey” Tahsin unexpectedly sets off on, when he is finally fed up with the commotion of Istanbul. Starting off with the dreams of leaving all his worries behind in the city and locating in a quiet coastal town, Tahsin runs into all kinds of trouble on the road. Siren’s Call will make you feel the weight of the ever-increasing cement and the airless, imposing atmosphere of Istanbul in your bones, while also bringing you many laughs along the way.




Turkey | DCP, Color, 89’ |Turkish

Director:Michael Önder
Cast:Kenan Ece, Damla Sönmez, Berk Hakman

Rather than participate in the protests happening right near his home, Alper is determined to stay at home and play poker like he promised his friends. But the friends who come to his place to play are puzzled by Alper’s indifference, just like his fiancée Defne who takes to the streets to join the protests. It will become difficult for him to ignore the events once Defne is brought home with an injured foot by an unknown young man and two people escaping police intervention take refuge in the apartment despite Alper’s objections. As the night unfolds at the poker table, discussions intensify over such topics as whether or not to join the demonstrations, the attitude of the police, rules, rights, and justice.




Turkey | DCP, Color, 70’ |Turkish

Director:Burak Çevik
Cast:Zinnure Türe, Dila Yumurtacı, Esme Madra

A cursed woman in her thirties who lives in a cave-like room and seems to be frozen in time searches for her twin sister who has vanished years ago. She searches in sinister corners of the city where she will chat with a repairwoman in an old TV repair shop, an oarswoman who says she is haunted by demons, and another woman who takes care of an abandoned botanical garden. During this journey, in which time and space are out of joint but which has a peculiar reality all its own, the same dream is recounted over and over again. Filmed in an experimental and avant-garde style, this debut feature by Burak Çevik had its world premiere at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival’s Forum section.




Turkey | DCP, Black & White, 120’ |Turkish

Director:Tayfun Pirselimoğlu
Cast:Tansu Biçer, Nalan Kuruçim, Taner Birsel, Ercan Kesal

The unnamed residents of an unnamed seaside town; a constant howl whose origin cannot be traced; a ship anchored far offshore that has been waiting there for days... These are accompanied by mysterious deaths, townspeople cold-bloodedly killing their spouses, and mysterious natural phenomena. The townsfolk are ill at ease because of all that is happening, while a modest man arrives who says he has come there to work and doesn’t seem to be affected by all these signs. His only concern is to spend some time with the nurse he’s attracted to. When she notices the mark on his back, she spreads the rumor to the townspeople who are on edge, leading to growing suspicions about who the young man might be. A striking story about the Antichrist and the Awaited Savior that will spellbind you with its talented cast and images that enhance the visual experience.