Despite War, Istanbul Festival Prepares For April Event
by Christopher Henderson
Despite the war in neighboring Iraq and anti-U.S. protests last week in Turkey, the 22nd International Istanbul Film Festival is still on for April 12-27. The festival has cancelled plans for its inaugural TurkFilm Market this year, but will present a strong line-up of films in and out of competition. Chen Kiage's "Together," winner of the Silver Seashell at the San Sebastian Film Festival, will open the Istanbul fest. The film, which also played at the Toronto Film Festival, tells the story of a young violinist from the Chinese countryside who travels to Beijing to find the best teacher possible, but instead befriends a nightclub dancer who lives next door.
Carlos Carrera's Oscar-nominated "El Crimen del Padre Amaro" and Rebecca Miller's Independent Spirit Award-winner "Personal Velocity" will headline the 13 films in competition for Istanbul's top prize, the Golden Tulip. Other films in international competition will include Karim Ainouz's "Madame Sata," Baltasar Kormakur's "The Sea," and Bahman Ghobadi's "Marooned in Iraq." Outside of competition, 180 films from 40 countries will show during the course of the 15-day event.
Internationally successful films will dot this expansive lineup in several categories. The Young Stars of World Cinema will feature 16 films, including Patricia Cardoso's "Real Women Have Curves," Lynne Ramsay's "Morvern Callar," and Peter Sollett's "Raising Victor Vargas." The section From the World of Festivals will include AFI winner "City of God" from Brazil, Stockholm International Film Festival winner "Lilya 4-Ever" from Sweden's Lukas Moodysson, and Fabian Bielinsky's Argentine hit "Nine Queens."
Gala screenings will include Thomas Vinterberg's "It's All About Love," Paul Thomas Anderson's "Punch-Drunk Love," Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Devdas," and Carlos Saura's "Salome." The festival will honor "Ben-Hur" director William Wyler and Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu by screening seven of each director's films. The festival will also pay tribute to Indian cinema in a program called "From Bollywood With Love." Other programs will include tributes to Claude Chabrol, Brian De Palma, Zek Okten, Edward Yang, and Estela Bravo. Doc sections and a Turkish competition will also be offered.
The festival will close April 27 with Antonio Hernandez's "The City of No Limits." The Goya-nominated film focuses on the last days of a terminally ill man named Max. Max's youngest son is drawn into his father's past as he tries to determine if the dying man's ramblings about a woman named Rancel are true or false.
[For more information: www.istfest.org/film]