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November 26-November 28, 2004

Contemporary Turkish Documentaries

This series gives a rare opportunity to view documentaries by emerging directors of the Turkish cinema. Over the past few years, works of the new generation of prominent Turkish directors such as Fatih Akin, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Zeki Demirkubuz, and Ferzan Özpetek have received remarkable international attention and have carried Turkish cinema to a new level.

This program is co-presented with the 9th Annual Boston Turkish Festival. Special thanks to Erkut Gömülü, founder and director of the Boston Turkish Festival.

November 26 (Friday) 7 pm
November 28 (Sunday) 7 pm

Take Me and Use Me! – Portrait of an Actor: Necdet Mahfi Ayral (Alin Kullanin Beni! – Bir Oyuncunun Portresi: Necdet Mahfi Ayral)

Directed by Mehmet Güreli
Turkey, 2003, color, 45 min.
Turkish with English subtitles

This documentary focuses on Necdet Mahfi Ayral (1908-2004), one of the most colorful personalities in the Turkish theatre and cinema. All the highlights of his rich life are featured, including his entrance into the Istanbul Municipal Theatre, his film and theatre adventures with Muhsin Ertugrul, and his dubbing of the films of the famous Italian comedian Toto. The film features moving interviews with his daughter Jeyan Mahfi Tözüm, actors Ferhan Sensoy, Sener Sen, and Kayhan Yildizoglu and director Yavuz Turgul, who express their sincere feelings about the master artist.

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The Collector (Koleksiyoncu)

Directed by Pelin Esmer
Turkey, 2002, color, 46 min.
Turkish with English subtitles

In this documentary about a passionate collector, director Pelin Esmer presents a man who has been collecting for 70 years, accumulating everything one can imagine. This unusual character lives in his house like a guest of his collections, as if time has stopped. As this passionate man searches through the streets of Istanbul for new items to collect, Esmer tries to understand his subject’s idiosyncratic perception of life. The film was awarded the Best Documentary Award in the 2004 Rome Independent Film Festival and Third Prize in the Ankara Film Festival’s Documentary Competition.

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November 26 (Friday) 9 pm
November 27 (Saturday) 7 pm

The Hittites (Hititler)

Directed by Tolga Örnek
Turkey, 2003, color, 120 min.

Narrated by Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons, this documentary presents the dramatic story of the Hittites. Using expert interviews, stunning cinematography, and dramatic reenactments (including a breathtaking recreation of the controversial battle of Kadesh that decimated the armies of Egypt's Pharaoh Ramses II), director Tolga Örnek brings this rich history to life. The production spanned two years and more than one hundred days of principal photography in locations across Egypt, Syria and Turkey. The film features detailed reconstructions of historically accurate props and sets, including a miniature scale model of the ancient capital city, full-scale working battle chariots, replicas of period statuary, pottery, armor, costumes and weaponry.

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November 27 (Saturday) 9 pm
November 28 (Sunday) 9 pm

The Songs of Nazim Hikmet (Nazim Hikmet Sarkilari)

Directed by Mehmet Eryilmaz
Turkey, 2000, color, 72 min.
Turkish with English subtitles


This documentary tribute to the Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet (sometimes called the Pablo Neruda of Turkey) explores seven of the hundreds of songs based on his poetry. The songs are performed by famous Turkish singers and musicians such as Ruhi Su, Sümeyra, Zülfü Livaneli, Cem Karaca, Inci Çayirli, Esin Afsar and Timur Selçuk. The film conveys Nazim Hikmet’s distinct personality as well as his love for his country and people while remaining stylistically faithful to his work.

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