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Rendezvous with Directors 6: Yeşim Ustaoğlu

 

February 14-28, 2019

Rendezvous with Directors, Istanbul Modern Cinema’s series of meetings featuring directors who stand out for their artistic identity and original approach in Turkey’s contemporary film culture, is hosting Yeşim Ustaoğlu this year.

Rendezvous with Directors selection presents six feature-length films and four shorts by Ustaoğlu in addition to the behind the scenes documentary for Araf – Somewhere in Between and the unreleased extended version of the director’s documentary Life on Their Shoulders (Sırtlarındaki Hayat, 2004). As part of the program, where cast members will be in attendance at screenings, an extensive conversation with Yeşim Ustaoğlu will be held on February 28 in addition to presentations by film critics.

 

IN CONVERSATION WITH YEŞİM USTAOĞLU

Thursday, February 28, 19.15

Moderator: Müge Turan, Film critic

The conversation held within the scope of the program focuses on Yeşim Ustaoğlu’s cinema and her direction.

The event is free of charge. Seating capacity is limited.

 

 

Click for tickets and further information

 


THE TRACK (İZ), 1994

Turkey |DVD, Color, 116’ | Turkish

Cast: Aytaç Arman, Derya Alabora, Nur Sürer, Mustafa Arslan

With a screenplay by Tayfun Pirselimoğlu, The Track is Yeşim Ustaoğlu’s first feature film. Bored with his monotonous life, police officer Kemal decides to follow up on a call he overhears on the police radio. A musician has been found dead in his apartment. After a short investigation, the police conclude that the musician had committed suicide by shooting himself in the face, and the case is closed. Nevertheless, Kemal becomes obsessed with finding out what the man actually looked like. In time, Kemal’s obsession starts bringing him more trouble than he has ever expected.

Pursuant to Article 7 of the Law No. 7163 “Motion pictures without any content rating and classification may only be shown during festivals, special film screenings and similar cultural and art activities by displaying the rating symbol of 18+ years old".

 

GÜNEŞE YOLCULUK (JOURNEY TO THE SUN), 1999

Turkey, The Netherlands, Germany |DCP, Color, 104’ | Turkish, Kurdish, Dutch

Cast: Nazmi Kırık, Newroz Baz, Mizgin Kapazan

Journey to the Sun is a story of friendship and courage portraying a naive young man in Turkey, during the 1990s. Coming from different parts of Turkey, Mehmet and Berzan’s paths cross in Istanbul. Mehmet and Berzan’s friendship is strengthened after the guileless Mehmet gets into trouble and is wrongfully accused and arrested. When Mehmet embarks on a journey across the country to carry Berzan’s funeral back to his village, he will face numerous obstacles and endure various experiences that will mature him.

Pursuant to Article 7 of the Law No. 7163 “Motion pictures without any content rating and classification may only be shown during festivals, special film screenings and similar cultural and art activities by displaying the rating symbol of 18+ years old".

 

WAITING FOR THE CLOUDS (BULUTLARI BEKLERKEN), 2004

Turkey, France, Germany, Greece |35mm, Color, 92' |Turkish

Cast:Rüçhan Çalışkur, Rıdvan Yağcı, İsmail Baysan, Dimitris Kaberidis, Feride Karaman

Waiting for the Clouds is the story of a woman burdened with secrets laid on her by others, and who has been living on the misty flatlands of the Black Sea region for the past 50 years. Ayşe, originally Eleni, is the daughter of a Greek family forced to emigrate from the Black Sea region in 1916. Most family members cannot survive the snow on their road to exile, but Eleni and her little brother Niko make it to Mersin, where a Turkish family adopts the two. The trauma caused by young Eleni’s horrible experience is only slightly alleviated through the loving bond she builds with the adolescent Selma. Eleni tolerates Niko’s leaving but when her beloved Selma is gone, Eleni’s veiled feelings of guilt and internal feud are awakened with the voices brought by the fog and the clouds of the mountains, and the images of those who have been lost.

Pursuant to Article 7 of the Law No. 7163 “Motion pictures without any content rating and classification may only be shown during festivals, special film screenings and similar cultural and art activities by displaying the rating symbol of 18+ years old".

 

PANDORA’S BOX (PANDORA’ NIN KUTUSU), 2008

Turkey, France, Belgium, Germany |DCP, Color, 112' |Turkish

Cast:Tsilla Chelton, Derya Alabora, Övül Avkıran, Onur Ünsal, Osman Sonant

Pandora’s Box portrays the story of three middle-aged siblings living in different neighborhoods of Istanbul, all facing different problems and living standards. The three, somewhat estranged siblings come together one day when they receive a telephone call from their hometown in the Western Black Sea region. Madam Nusret, their old mother is missing. The siblings go on an obligatory journey to the village in search of their mother, but this journey will turn into something like a “Pandora’s Box” when many of the buried problems and predicaments in the lives and relationships of the three siblings come spilling out.

 

ARAF / SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN (ARAF), 2012

Turkey, Germany, France | DCP, Color, 124'| Turkish

Cast:Neslihan Atagül, Özcan Deniz, Barış Hacıhan, Nihal Yalçın, Ilgaz Kocatürk

Zehra and Olgun are two young people working on shifts at a huge, 24/7 gas station situated on a highway. Lost in a vicious cycle, they keep on working, as if with the expectation that their lives will suddenly change one day. During the times they aren’t working, both Zehra and Olgun lose themselves in daydreams about their futures as they watch television shows depicting far away places, magical love affairs, shiny futures or striking it rich. The two go on about their lives stuck in a limbo between the cycle of work and the lives of their dreams. But this monotony will be turned upside down one cold winter day when Zehra falls in love with Mahur, who comes to the station on his truck.

 

CLAIR OBSCUR (TEREDDÜT), 2016

Turkey, Poland, France |DCP, Color, 105’ |Turkish

Cast:Funda Eryiğit, Ecem Uzun, Mehmet Kurtuluş, Okan Yalabık, Serkan Keskin

Şehnaz is a psychiatrist who does not face the facts of her personal life, and Elmas is a young girl who was forced to marry at an early age. Although they lead very different lives, in effect, the problems they have to deal with are fundamentally similar. The lives of these two women cross when Elmas has a traumatic experience, after which a lengthy, challenging reckoning begins. According to veteran director Yeşim Ustaoğlu, Clair Obscur calls into question “states of womanhood, the male-female relationship, and the responsibilities and neglects of the family as an institution” while debating “the problems a trauma victim might experience during both the psychological and judicial processes.”

 

DOCUMENTARIES

MISTY CHILDREN OF THE SMOKY CITY (DUMANLI KENTİN PUSLU ÇOCUKLARI), 2012

Turkey |DVD, Color, 78’ |Turkish

Director: Murat Evrim

The behind the scenes documentary for Yeşim Ustaoğlu’s film Araf – Somewhere in Between, portrays the director’s location choices, visual style, communication of emotions as well as other details such her choice of cast and crew members.

Pursuant to Article 7 of the Law No. 7163 “Motion pictures without any content rating and classification may only be shown during festivals, special film screenings and similar cultural and art activities by displaying the rating symbol of 18+ years old".

 

LIFE ON THEIR SHOULDERS (SIRTLARINDAKİ HAYAT), 2004

Turkey |HDD, Color, 60’ |Turkish

Filmed in the village of Topluca in Çamlıhemşin, Rize, Life on Their Shoulders depicts the lives of local women. The documentary focuses on how these women cope with the physical as well as the emotional weights they carry, how they maintain the bright smiles on their faces and how they keep on singing despite the hardships they face as they deal with the responsibility of taking care of their families. Ustaoğlu provides an insider’s view onto the area surrounded by boundless forests and where rivers run wild, echoing along with the rains that keep on raining.

Pursuant to Article 7 of the Law No. 7163 “Motion pictures without any content rating and classification may only be shown during festivals, special film screenings and similar cultural and art activities by displaying the rating symbol of 18+ years old".

 

SHORTS

HOTEL (OTEL), 1992

Turkey |DVD, Color, 16’ |Turkish

Cast:Ralf Hall, Neşe Şen, Şeref Türkmenoğlu

The film is an investigation of a hotel that no one can leave. Architecturally fascinating and mysterious, the hotel is inhabited by bizarre characters. There has been a homicide, and a man who has not shown the bravery to witness it, is being held as a suspect. Reminiscent of Kafka’s stories with elements of film noir and metaphors of society and insanity, the film was very well received and won the Grand Prize at the 14th International Mediterranean Film Festival

Montpellier (Cinémed).

Pursuant to Article 7 of the Law No. 7163 “Motion pictures without any content rating and classification may only be shown during festivals, special film screenings and similar cultural and art activities by displaying the rating symbol of 18+ years old".

 

DUET, 1990

Turkey |DVD, Color, 15’ |Turkish

Cast:Müge Akyamaç, Ahmet Erintan, Alican Gebeç

Taking place at a reclusive musician’s house and portraying a single night, the film follows a young man, who has “escaped” from Germany to Istanbul. As the two men get to know each other through music, the dichotomy of a home and homelessness, and the real and the imaginary, the shadow of Istanbul is in the background. Duet won the first prize at the Yunus Nadi Short Film Competition in 1991.  

Pursuant to Article 7 of the Law No. 7163 “Motion pictures without any content rating and classification may only be shown during festivals, special film screenings and similar cultural and art activities by displaying the rating symbol of 18+ years old".

 

MAGNAFANTAGNA, 1987

Turkey |DVD, Color, 15’ |Turkish

Cast:Eser Arsan, Rana Özbal

Inspired by Wendy Lichtman’s story, Ustaoğlu’s second short film portrays a little girl’s discovery of death. Blurring the boundary between what is real and what is not, the film is both a visually poetic depiction of how humans mature with the realization of the certainty of death, and the bearer of traces from the director’s search of cinema.

Pursuant to Article 7 of the Law No. 7163 “Motion pictures without any content rating and classification may only be shown during festivals, special film screenings and similar cultural and art activities by displaying the rating symbol of 18+ years old".

 

TO CATCH A MOMENT (BİR ANI YAKALAMAK), 1984

Turkey |DVD, Color, 15’ |Turkish

The first film directed by Yeşim Ustaoğlu, To Catch a Moment received the IFSAK Short Film Award. The film portrays the bus journey of a young woman played by the director herself. Throughout the journey, the woman’s mind goes off to a few imaginary time zones and she starts dreaming about what could happen. Throughout this spiritual journey, she reflects on her relationship with her mother and her father portrayed by Ara Güler, their family dynamics and her home.

Pursuant to Article 7 of the Law No. 7163 “Motion pictures without any content rating and classification may only be shown during festivals, special film screenings and similar cultural and art activities by displaying the rating symbol of 18+ years old".

 

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