A woman struggles with love and personal loss against the backdrop of a land torn by civil war in this drama from filmmaker Ozcan Alper. Sumru (Gaye Gursel) is a Turkish woman who studies ethnic music at a college in Istanbul and frequently makes field recordings of artists who practice rare and unusual forms. Sumru is struggling with loneliness after the disappearance of her Kurdish boyfriend, and for her latest project, she sets out on a lengthy road trip recording the stories of Kurdish women who have survived the murder of their Turkish husbands or lovers, hoping she might track down her man in her travels. After making her first stop in the city of Diyarbaki, Sumru meets Ahmet, who makes a living selling black market goods and shares her love of music and history. The two become fast friends, and as Ahmet joins Sumru on her travels, their relationship grows deeper, though she also becomes more aware of the tragedy that has gripped her country and the consequences of the civil war.
A bitter conflict has raged between guerrillas and the army in Turkey’s Kurdish regions for over 30 years. Large expanses have now become war zones. Countless young people have lost their lives to the conflict. This dangerous but incredibly beautiful mountainous country is home to 17-year-old Jîn. But she is no longer safe since she secretly stole away from a group of rebels with whom she was fighting. Now she wanders the picturesque landscape alone, caught between two fronts. All of a sudden, the sound of gunfire and explosions rend the air above the untouched natural scenery. Attack is threatened from all sides. Desperate to find peace, Jîn decides to escape to another part of the country – an impossible plan, since the military is omnipresent and there are road blocks everywhere. As a Kurd without identity papers she risks arrest at every turn. In addition, as a woman with no family to shield her, many men will see her as fair game. But her courage is unbroken and the mountains are her greatest protectors. [Synopsis courtesy of Berlinale]
Loving Istanbul couple Ayşe and Cemal need only a child to complete their life together, but they cannot conceive. To salvage Cemal’s pride, they resort to illegal means to procure a baby. This wild grab at a more perfect life proves their undoing, leading the couple to spiral toward separate futures. The couple’s estrangement is intertwined with the film’s parallel narrative, in which a distant and neglectful single mom is raising her little boy, Can. (Sundance Film Festival)
A Star Is Born is a 1976 rock music film telling the story of a young woman, played by Barbra Streisand who enters show business, and meets and falls in love with an established male star, played by Kris Kristofferson, only to find her career ascending while his goes into decline.
Fatma is around 50, a housewife with six children. She lives in Vienna but grew up in Turkey and clings stubbornly to the traditions and values of the old country. Ayse is 19, and the film begins with her wedding in rural Turkey, to Fatma’s son Hasan. However, when the family takes Ayse to Vienna this is revealed as a c harade… for Ayse is to be the kuma (second wife) of Fatma’s husband Mustafa.
In the quiet foothills of Turkey, Faik lives an isolated existence. When his second son brings his boys for a visit, Faik takes the opportunity to pontificate about the law of the land, as he sees it. He shares one unsolicited thought after the next, most particularly focusing on the elusive nomads whom he suspects have been trespassing on his property. The day and night wear on, and each member of the clan takes his turn entrusting the film’s audience with his own dark secret.
Balabey and his family live in the traditional way in a small town in Turkey close to the Georgian border. Here, marriages are arranged, and happiness is elsewhere. Balabey lives in his own world and enjoys exercising what little power he has as a sergeant – chiefly being able to make the trains stop and start at will. In the middle of winter, when the landscape and the houses are covered in a thick blanket of snow, he falls in love with the beautiful Russian Irina who works in a brothel with her sisters. For the menfolk, the bordello is a warm place in a cold town, while their wives despair at their husbands’ adulterous behaviour. Balabey’s fragile happiness is soon threatened by his irascible brother, who was forced to marry the sister of Balabey’s heavily pregnant wife. With its stunning images of the landscape, the film unfolds like a Greek tragedy. Balabey is determined to do everything in his power to prevent his beloved Irina from sticking to her plan of returning to Moscow. [Courtesy of Berlinale]
Nisantasi is a classy Istanbul residential district. Its inhabitants may be rich and beautiful but they are not necessarily happy. This is the case for 52-year-old architect Can and his wife Ela, an artist who is already past her creative prime. Their daughter Nil has left home to study in Ankara. Left to their own devices, the couple realise that their passion for each other is not what it once was. Nonetheless they both feel secure in the safe harbour of a marriage which places no demands for critical questions or complex explanations. One day, Ela happens to overhear her husband talking on the phone. (Berlinale.de)
Lawrence of Arabia is the classic film from David Lean starring Peter O’Toole and based on the autobiography from Thomas Edward Lawrence who during the first World War was on assignment by the British Empire in Arabia. The film would become a cult classic and is known today as a masterpiece.