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31. Istanbul Film Festival Daily: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

YESTERDAY AT THE FESTIVAL
• WE HAD ANOTHER DAY FULL OF DOCUMENTARIES AND TURKISH CINEMA! On Wednesday, the middle of the festival, the festival audience was at the theatres for screenings with the participation of actors and directors.
• GLOBALIZATION TRILOGY 2001–2011 Director Micha X. Peled has been and will be a guest at festival theatres with his Globalization Trilogy in the “Documentary Time with NTV” section. This amazing series questions the consumer society of today while making the audience think where they stand in that society. The first documentary is dated 2001, Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town, about the rift that opens in a small town due to a retail company. The film was screened at Fitaş 1 at 13.30. Second film of the trilogy completed in 2005, China Blue was screened at Fitaş 1 at 16.00 following the first film. In this film, the director focuses on the manufacturing stage of the production-consumption chain. Screening of the last film of the trilogy, completed in 2011, was at Fitaş 1 at 19.00 after the screening of the first two films. In Bitter Seeds, director Peled analyses effects of globalisation and consumption frenzy on people working in the agriculture sector through the story of cotton farmer Ram Krishna and his family. The director was present at all three screenings, met with the audience and answered questions. “Actually I experience this for the first time regarding my documentaries in Istanbul. All films of the Globalization Trilogy have never been screened together on the same day at on the same day anywhere in the world,” stated the director. Peled talked about how he decided on the topic of the films: “I don’t like filming completed dramas. This is how I began the first film too. When I hear about such a conflict in a small town, I decided to film it. While I am filming, the living character of the events attracts me.” On a question regarding how capitalism affects our cities, Peled said: “What I am afraid of is the capitalism of the giant multinational corporations. I think capitalism on the neighbourhood level makes cities lively, it helps people have social connections.” The trilogy follows the consumption chain. Cotton grown in India in the last film is exported to China and used in manufacturing of the blue jeans exported to the USA and sold in giant retail stores. On each level of the chain, companies pressure manufacturers for lower prices. This is how globalisation is portrayed. Peled will talk about the relationship between globalisation and economics, politics, money, human life and filmmaking at a panel at Akbank Sanat on Saturday, April 7 at 16.00.
• A HONG KONG DRAMA ON LOVE The screening of Hong Kong’s Oscar nominee A Simple Life took place at Atlas Sineması at 16.00. After the screening, director Ann Hui met with the audience. On the two main characters of the film, she stated: “We approached the relationship between the two characters in a more beautiful way than it is in real life. Maybe you remember my previous film where my starting point was my relationship with my mother. In that film too, we softened the reality and worked on it with a more positive narrative. I am a viewer myself. So I know what the audience wants. Therefore we compressed and softened the sickness process in the film. However, 80% of the film is based on reality.”
• BACK TO THE CYPRUS ISLAND WITH THE KEY One of the “Special Screenings” of the festival, The Key was shot in Northern Cyprus, where a filming sector does not exist. Cemal Yıldırım, the director of The Key answered questions of the audience after the screening at Beyoğlu Sineması at 16.00. Director Yıldırım stated: “There have been many film productions in Northern Cyprus so far. But this is the first film by Turkish Cypriots shot in 35 mm. All the technical staff and the cast are almost all composed of non-professionals. And they came together with the help of a facebook group. We worked with great sacrifices in Northern Cyprus where a filming sector does not exist, and we did the best we could. I hope you like it.”
• A 1978 NABOKOV ADAPTATION FROM FASSBINDER Rainer Werner Fassbinder tells the story of his main character’s turning to Nazism in his 1978 film. Despair was screened in the “In Memoriam” section for the thirtieth anniversary of Fassbinder’s death, and actress Andrea Ferreol met with the audience as a guest of the festival. There will be only two screenings of the film during the festival, first of which was at Atlas Sineması at 19.00. During Andrea Ferreol’s speech on his memories of the film, the audience would not stop applauding and laughing. Especially after Ferreol’s statement “I love this film, because I look great in it and I am young!” the audience burst into laughter. “The producer called me and asked if I speak English, and I said ‘Yes!’, but actually I didn’t know a single word. Then I went to an English class at Champs Elysées and told them ‘I have to speak English remarkably well in six months.’ Then no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t do it. I worked with a dialogue coach, but it didn’t work either. Actually I did not even understand the plot. Because only my lines were translated into French and I didn’t have the time to read Nabokov’s book.” On his experience with Fassbinder, he told: “Fassbinder and I had dinner before the film. He told me ‘German is a language which is programmed to think. French, on the other hand, is programmed just to drink.’ After this statement, I never went to dinner with him, I just worked with him!” Ferreol was bid farewell with applauses before the film.
• SHADOW PLAY IN BURSA OF THE MIDDLE AGES Although shadow plays are not in our lives as they were a few generations before, they have a very solid place in our memories. Nearly everyone is knows about of Karagöz and Hacivat. What about the real story of this couple, whom we are about to forget? Director Ezel Akay presents this folk tale with an amazing art direction. 2006 dated Killing the Shadow was at the festival with a single screening. Ayşen Gruda, who states “I tear down my own clichés with this film”, and director Ezel Akay participateD to the screening at Beyoğlu Sineması at 19.00 in person and met with the audience. “I had to play a shaman but I didn’t know how I should do that. Then I thought it does not matter if she is a shaman or not, or if it is 13th or 14th century, a mother is always a mother!” said Ayşen Gruda on her part. Director Ezel Akay said: “We created a set there, a brand new world. We washed our own clothes, we fell in love, and we argued there... Then when the shoot was over, we hugged each other and left. The spirit of the set is in this film! I hope you can feel the spirit while you’re watching it!”
• A JOURNEY THROUGH TIME FROM 1964 TO 2011: BIRDS OF FOREIGN LAND Within the “Turkish Classics Revisited” project under the Special Screening sponsorship of Groupama and the cooperation of the Istanbul Film Festival, Halit Refiğ’s unforgettable work Birds of Foreign Land was restored by academicians of Mimar Sinan University Film and TV Centre. Director Refiğ adapted the film from the play “Ocak” by Turgut Özakman. The film is about the trials and tribulations of a family, which immigrated from Kahramanmaraş to Istanbul, and the economic and cultural hardships they go through. Celebrated Turkish actors Cüneyt Arkın, Sevda Ferdağ, Pervin Par and Tanju Gürsu participated to the special screening of the film at Nişantaşı Citylife City’s at 21.30. Sinan Çetin, Ezel Akay, Kutluğ Ataman, and Murathan Mungan joined the cocktail at Nişantaşı City’s Limonata at 19.30 before the screening. Guests of the festival, Marius Holst, Edgardo Cozarinsky and Benno Fürmann were also present. “Despite their technical deficiencies, these are the films we came to admire, because during the process everybody devoted themselves to the film and to one another...” stated Gülper Refiğ, the wife of the late Halit Refiğ who defined his film as “contradictions in reality itself”.
• DOCUMENTARIES WITH BitamBiöğrenci Screening of China Blue by director Micha X. Peled was at at 16.00 at Fitaş 1 and the director was at the screening for Q&A.
TODAY AT THE FESTIVAL
• TOWARDS THE MIDDLE OF THE FESTIVAL As we are approaching to the end of the first week and to middle of the festival, festival venues will be full of screenings with directors’ participations. Festival audience will meet with the directors of two highly anticipated films and ask their questions.
• A DARK PROMENADE AT MIDNIGHT IN BUENOS AIRES Argentine director Edgardo Cozarinsky says: “There are day people and there are night people. Night people know each other. Their cities are just theirs.” If you want to meet Nocturnos in Buenos Aires and ask questions to director Cozarinsky after the screening, don’t miss the screening at Atlas Sineması at 19.00.
• AN AWARDED SECOND FILM FROM ROMANIA A SECOND FILM FROM ROMANIA While interest of the festival audience for Romanian films are increasing each year, Romanian films in the festival selection continue to meet with the audience this year again. Romanian director Adrian Sitaru tells the story of Alex, whose mother was hospitalised, in his second film after “Hooked”. Best Intentions will be screened at Fitaş 4 at 19.00. Right after the screening, director Sitaru will meet be there for Q&A.
• FRIENDS OF BitamBiöğrenci PROJECT FOR TODAY Michel Petrucciani by Michael Radford in the “Documentary Time with NTV” section will meet with the students once more. The film screening will be at Fitaş 1 at 21.30 for those who want to watch film on the world famous jazz pianist, who was only 91 cm tall but managed to overcame difficulties and made his way into our hearts.
TOMORROW AT THE FESTIVAL
• DON’T FORGET TO MAKE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FESTIVAL WEEKEND! The second weekend of the festival is close! Buy your tickets in advance for a Saturday and Sunday full of festival films. But before the weekend, there will be another day full of screenings with the participation of their directors.
• WHAT YOUNG ROMANIAN MASTER TELLS The stories in the second film of director Adrian Sitaru are based on his own experiences. You can watch Best Intentions, on Alex whose life goes off the rails after his mother’s illness, with the participation of the director Sitaru at Atlas Sineması at 13.30.
• FRANCOIS VAN HEERDEN GETS LOST IN SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS South African guests of the festival will meet with the audience with Beauty. Director Oliver Hermanus invites the audience to accompany the inner journey of the main character Francois and also shows us the moral structure of South Africa. The screening will be at Fitaş 4 at 16.00 and Hermanus will be there for Q&A.
• ROMAN’S SEARCH WORTHY OF OSCARS With his first film, Karl Markovics tells the past of Roman who is out of reformatory and his search of his mother, who left him to the orphanage. Screening of Breathing, nominated to Academy Awards from Austria this year, will be at Atlas Sineması at 19.00’da with the participation of actor Thomas Schubert.
• AN AMAZING FILM BY THE DIRECTOR WITH HONORARY AWARD In the film multi-awarded in festivals, Ali Özgentürk, who got the “Cinema Honorary Award” at the opening ceremony of the Istanbul Film Festival, focuses on the effects and the tragedy of migration from village to cities. The Horse will be screened with the participation of director Özgentürk at Beyoğlu Sineması at 19.00.
• ROAD STORIES BY THE BULGARIAN YOUNG MASTER Alienated art student Kamen and Avé hitchhike across Romania... Avé creates new identities for both of them during the journey full of lies and we will see if the result will be love. Awarded in festivals, Avé will be screened at Beyoğlu Sineması at 21.30 with the participation of director Konstantin Bojanov who will answer the questions after the screening.
• BROKEN DREAMS WITH DESTROYED COTTAGE Mentally ill Martin and little immigrant Viktor are the two main characters of the third and latest film by director Hans Weingartner, who will be present for the screening of the film. Hut in the Woods will be screened Fitaş 4 at 21.30 for those who want to see.
• 736-HOUR-LONG PERFORMANCE AT MoMA SHOWN IN THE FESTIVAL Marina Abramovic, who uses her own body as the basic material in her works and performances, forces the limits of body and mind for more than forty years. In Marina Abramovic The Artist is Present, director Matthew Akers shows us Abramovic’s performance in her retrospective exhibition in New York. The film will be screened at Fitaş 1 at 21.30 if you want to see the background of the work, which may be defined as the top of the performance art, and in case you have any questions, director Akers will be there for a Q&A.
• BIRDS OF FOREIGN LAND ONCE MORE! Within the “Turkish Classics Revisited” project under Special Screening sponsorship of Groupama and cooperation of Istanbul Film Festival, Halit Refiğ’s unforgettable work Birds of Foreign Land was restored by academicians of Mimar Sinan University Cinema and Television Centre. Defined as “Contradictions in reality itself” by Halit Refiğ, the film will be screened at 21.30 at Atlas Sineması.

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