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November 25 - November 26, 2005

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 Akın, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Neco Çelik, Zeki Demirkubuz, Ferzan Özpetek and Yesim Ustaoglu  have received remarkable international attention and have carried Turkish cinema to a new level.

This program is co-presented with the 10th annual Boston Turkish Festival. Special thanks to Erkut Gömülü, founder and director of the Boston Turkish Festival. For more information please visit www.bostonturkishfestival.org.


November 25 (Friday) 7 pm

Life On Their Shoulders ( Sırtlarındaki Hayat)

Directed by Yesim Ustaoglu
Turkey, 2004, Color, 38 min.
Turkish with English subtitles

This film tells the story of the women who carry the weight of a life of seasonal migration on their shoulders, in constant battle against a hostile natural environment.  With summer on its way, the mountain people must leave their village with their herds.  They pass through winding paths and valleys, and cross deep ravines, on their way to their summer quarters.  In the autumn, they must reprise the perilous journey in reverse

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November 25 (Friday) 7 pm

The Legendary Girl of the Skies: Sabiha Sabiha Gökçen (Türk Kızı, Gök Kızı, Atatürk Kızı: Sabiha Gökçen)

Directed by Ali Akyüz
Turkey, 2003, Color, 52 min.
English language version

Sabiha Gökçen was the world's first female combat pilot, yet the story of this extraordinary Turkish woman is relatively unknown in the United States. The film incorporates rare archival footage and interviews to recount her amazing life story and accomplishments in aviation. The adopted daughter of Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Gökçen was born in 1914. Her childhood coincided with the dawn of aviation, the spectacular age when airplanes began to dominate the skies and command the battlefields. The film documents her impressive career as a combat pilot during World War II, when her skills and bravery earned her international recognition.

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November 25 (Friday) 9 pm

Gallipoli

Directed by Tolga Örnek
Turkey, 2004, Color, 90 min.
English language version

Gallipoli is unique in world history: it is not just a battle; it is also an epic tale of courage, self-sacrifice and stubborn endurance.  It is a story of enemies who displayed mutual respect during the battle and who became allies after it.  No battle has forged such strong comradeship and lasting peace in its aftermath. On the shores of Gallipoli, Australia and New Zealand became nations and Turkey embarked on its journey to become a republic from the ruins of an empire.  Narrated by Jeremy Irons, the documentary revolves around six soldiers tracing their lives before, during, and after the war.

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November 26 (Saturday) 7 pm - Director Nedim Hazar In Person

Asylum on the Bosphorus (Bogaziçi’ne Sıgındık)

Directed by Nedim Hazar
Turkey, 2001, Color, 86 min. 
Turkish with English subtitles

 

The film documents the strong influence of German and Jewish academicians and artists in the development of modern Turkey through the stories of two children of German exiles.  The present-day situation of the protagonists reflects a sad aspect of refugee-life: once in exile, always in exile.  Writer, director and musician Nedim Hazar, of Turkish origin, has been living in Germany since 1980.  In his first feature-length documentary film, he worked together with the renowned Czech documentarist Pavel Schnabel, who acted as cameraman and producer.

This screening is co-presented with the Goethe-Institut Boston and the Boston Jewish Film Festival.

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November 26 (Saturday) 9 pm - Director Nedim Hazar In Person

Kushtepe Blues (Kustepe Blues)

Directed by Nedim Hazar
Turkey, 2004, Color, 42 min.
Turkish with English subtitles

Renowned in Turkey for their musical documentaries, Hazar and his team invite audiences to the world of the children of Kushtepe, who take instrument lessons and learn music theory at Bilgi University.  The children include a young Gypsy fiddler whose father "plays behind the solo singer" in a restaurant at the Bosphorus, and young girls whose mothers clean the corridors of the university where they are being taught music.  Some aspire to be studio musicians, while others want to compose symphonies. However, their favorite music is "slow" music, or "Kushtepe Blues."

Burhan Öçal & Trakya All Stars: A Musical Homecoming

Directed by Nedim Hazar
Turkey, 2003, Color, 33 min.
Turkish with English subtitles

Percussionist Burhan Öçal has spent the last 20 years in Zurich and Istanbul, far away from his Turkish hometown of  Kırklareli. Starting his musical career in festivities organized by Turkish migrant workers, Öçal quickly built a respectable reputation in the European jazz and world music scenes through his work in combos and his contributions as a percussionist in other musical projects. He has worked with jazz musicians such as Joe Zawinul and Djamaladdin Takuma, the classical-avant-garde formation Kronos Quartet, and Sting. Öçal also dreamt of putting traditional Thracian and Balkan instruments together, and mixing these instruments with modern elements such as electronic looping.  As its name implies, the film is indeed very musical; it documents the process of "taking the sound of the Roman in Thrace and presenting it to the world."

This screening is co-presented with the Goethe-Institut Boston and the Boston Jewish Film Festival.

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Harvard Film Archive • Carpenter Center • 24 Quincy Street • Cambridge MA 02138 • 617-495-4700