ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
Following a hiatus of nearly three months, the countdown has begun to the end of summer, always a dry season for Turkish cinema. Here are the five most anticipated Turkish films of the coming fall and why to be first in line for tickets:
Probably the most prolific showbiz name in Turkey, stand-up comedian, cartoonist, actor, director and writer Cem Yılmaz's �A.R.O.G� might be the most anticipated movie of the year. Taking Arif, the protagonist of his science fiction comedy of 2004, �GORA,� to the Paleolithic Age, Yılmaz will once again generate his unique brand of comedy on screen. The expensive production stars Yılmaz in the leading role, with Ozan Güven, Özkan Uğur and Nil Karaibrahimgil in supporting roles. You have already seen the teaser for �A.R.O.G.� in theaters -- perhaps the longest teaser in movie history, with Arif's wife giving birth to an Alien!
Why to watch? Love him or hate him, Cem Yılmaz is definitely one of the best comedy writers in Turkey. His dry sense of humor and sharp observations about the common man never fail to make a Turkish audience laugh.
Gitmek (My Marlon and Brando)
A Turkish actress falls in love with an actor from northern Iraq while both are working on a feature film in Turkey. Boy goes back to his country, gets stuck in the middle of the war; girl sets out on a journey from Istanbul to Iraq to reach boy. Renowned documentary director Hüseyin Karabey directs the real-life actors of this real-life love story, who play themselves on screen. �My Marlon and Brando� was shot in Turkey, Iran and northern Iraq, with Ayça Damgacı co-writing the screenplay with Karabey.
Why to watch? A truly unique experience, verging on voyeurism, the film was a standout success in international film festivals, most recently in New York.
Originally titled �Dayanışma� (Solidarity), documentary director Mehmet Güleryüz's debut feature ***** focuses on a recent hot topic in Turkish cinema: honor killings. The new title, �Havar� (Cry for Help), is the name of the protagonist, a young woman said to have been executed by her father. The film was inspired by real events in the southeastern town of Batman, where �copycat suicides� of young women in the region were uncovered as honor killings. The film stands out as a unique work by the documentary director, as the cast consists totally of amateur actors from southeastern Turkey.
Why to watch? A powerful name in directing documentaries, Güleryüz's film will probably probe the core of a grave social reality in Turkey. He is also one of the few directors to achieve impressive performances from amateur actors.
Nokta (The Dot)
When his debut feature ***** �Tabutta Rövaşata� (Somersault in a Coffin), hit screens more than a decade ago, director Derviş Zaim secured himself a respectable place among Turkey's top directors. A film on crime, punishment and redemption, �Nokta� uses traditional art form calligraphy as a central motif, similar to the use of miniature paintings in the director's previous film �Cenneti Beklerken� (Waiting for Heaven). Mehmet Ali Nuroğlu and Serhat Kılıç star in this anticipated follow-up to �Cenneti Beklerken.�
Why to watch? Derviş Zaim has incredible insight into Turkish history, culture and arts and is a master at incorporating them into his films.
Osmanlı Cumhuriyeti (The Ottoman Republic)
A popular satirist and TV writer, Gani Müjde returns to directing, following an eight-year absence after his debut feature �Kahpe Bizans� (The Perfidious Byzantium), which poked fun at the earlier nationalist films of Turkish cinema. In his latest historical comedy, he travels on similar turf, imagining what life would be like in Turkey if Atatürk had not come along and if instead a seventh Osman ruled the Ottoman Empire in the 21st century. Stand-up comedian Ata Demirer stars as the last sultan of the Ottoman era.
Why to watch? Both Gani Müjde and Ata Demirer are favorite household names who never fail to put a smile on followers of Turkish pop culture.
Üç Maymun (Three Monkeys)
Director Nuri Bilge Ceylan's best director award at this year's Cannes Film Festival was probably the highlight for Turkish cinema this year. The Turkish-French-Italian joint production will hit screens in October. �Üç Maymun� portrays a family tragedy in Ceylan's unique minimalist style, once again starring his wife, Ebru Ceylan, and famous Turkish singer, Yavuz Bingöl. Though Ceylan's movies are more popular in Europe's art-house theaters than in his �lonely and beautiful� country, it's time for Turkish audiences to give the renowned director a chance.
Why to watch? Ceylan's name was put next to celebrated filmmakers Fellini, Tarkowski, Lars Von Trier and Theodoros Angelopoulos when he received his Grand Jury award in Cannes in 2003. All of his films have won awards in international festivals.