Posts Tagged ‘Turkish cinema’

A Taste of Anatolia | Turkish Film Festival 2023

Turkish cinema comes to England this November courtesy of TASTE OF ANATOLIA – the only film festival in the UK dedicated to cinema of Turkey.

Celebrating its 5th edition, the full programme is available online on the film platform Balik Arts Tv and at live ‘in person’ screenings at the Rio Cinema, London, Old Divinity School, St John’s College, Cambridge University, North London Community House in London, Refugee Workers Cultural Association in London, University of East Anglia in Norwich and Aylesbury Youth Action in Buckinghamshire, the festival stretching to four towns for the first time.

Expect to see the latest releases from the festival circuit including Black Night (2022) and Snow and the Bear (2022) that premiered at the prestigious Golden Orange Festival in Antalya on Turkey’s Mediterranean riviera.


Mujde (2021))

Dir.: Alphan Eseli; Cast: Lale Mansur, Salim Kechiouche, Onur Bilge, Erdeniz Kurucan; Turkey 2021, 48 min.

MUJDE shines a critical light on Turkey packing a pithy story into an hour unlike so many features nowadays that drag on interminably relying on atmosphere to carry a paper thin narrative.

Recently widowed Mujde (a brilliant Lale Mansur) rightly suspects her son Okan (Kurucan) and his estate agent friend Berat (Bilge) of having ulterior motives in persuading her to sell the large family house and move to a poky flat in central Istanbul. But she goes ahead nevertheless and employs three Syrian immigrants to help with the move. One of the them, Sayyid (Kechiouche), has lost his son in the Syrian conflict, and his vulnerability leads to romance with the lonely widow. The two make an odd couple, Mujde’s friends disapproving either on the grounds of jealousy or general hostility towards Syrian immigrants who are seen as second class citizens by the local Turks. An unexpected turn of events leads to tragedy on Shakespearean proportions when Sayyid is called back to Syria leaving Mujde in the lurch.

Set amongst Istanbul’s colourful shops and bazars and domestic interiors that bring to mind Fassbinder’s Fear eats up the soul, Mujde is an affirmation of contemporary cinema, proving a strong script is still central to successful filmmaking. Best known for his critically acclaimed drama The Long Way Home (2013) Alphan Eseli is also co-founder of the Art and Culture platform ISTANBUL’74. AS



Three Monkeys (2008) ****

Dir: Nuri Bilge Ceylan | Cast: Yavuz Bingol, Hatice Aslan, Ahmet Rifat Sungar, Ercan Kesal | Thriller, Turkey 109′

Three Monkeys is a visual metaphor for anxiety and suspicion, a moody reflection on family guilt after a tragedy under the glowering skies of Istanbul. Three Monkeys is a masterpiece in stylish visual storytelling. Writing with his wife Ebru, Ceylan keeps his plot and narrative ambiguous to focus on an atmosphere seething with angst ridden doubt. His characters make spurious assumptions that eventually lead to their undoing.

The plot is brilliantly simple yet loaded with potential for emotional meltdown: under a cloud of dismay and financial hardship, Eyup and Hacer live in a modest flat overlooking the Bosphorus with their aimless son Ismail, whose brother has recently died. One dark night Eyup’s politically ambitious boss Servet hits a pedestrian on a lonely road. Eyup agrees to take the rap – a short stay in prison – for a chunk of money that will repay a debt he owes his father. While Eyup is away, the feckless Ismail buys a car with part of the money to secure a job as a driving instructor. Hacer then falls for Servet who decides to repay Eyup in full, including the amount Ismail has spent on the car. But Eyup regards his largesse with suspicion and soon puts two and two together.

The sheer intensity of Three Monkeys is captivating – keeping us in thrall as the four main characters gradually unravel in a way that is rare in modern cinema, invigorated by Gokhan Tiryaki’s vibrant images and stunning performances from Yavuz Bingol, Hatice Aslan and Ahmet Sungar whose facial expressions convey all we need to know and more. A simple tragedy leads to a constantly changing dynamic between the central characters who are poisoned by a self-seeking outsider. Pure cinematic joy that deservedly won Ceylan Best Director at Cannes 2008. MT



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