THE LIGHT OF TURKEY
A thin haze veiling the forests of the Black Sea mountains, fading the dark green and golden colours of the leaves, melancholy sinks on the audience… The snowy landscape of Eastern Anatolia that makes the audience feel the cold until the fire in poor children’s eyes warms their hearts… A glimpse of a face staring behind a window that reflects the loneliness of the individual in an overcrowded street of Istanbul…
The second new wave of the Turkish cinema in 2010’s, introduced us a young generation of cinematographers. And they introduced the world the images of Turkey filtered through their eyes. Together with directors they write poems of Turkey with light.
The cinematography has always been the strongest element in the past of the Turkish cinema and the young DOPs were able to continue it in the digital age. The pioneers who started the new wave that changed the approach to filmmaking in mid 90’s started working with established DOPs. Some of them like Reha Erdem and Yeşim Ustaoğlu preferred to continue with foreign PODs, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Zekir Demirkubuz undertook the task themselves for a while. Uğurİçbak, Gökhan Atılmış and Mustafa Kuşçu are cinematographers belonging to this generation and its innovationism. In early 2000’s we witnessed the success of Eyüp Boz, Mehmet Aksın, Ercan Yılmaz, Ercan Özkan, Mehmet Y. Zengin, Ali Özel, Yusuf Aslanyürek, Emre Tanyildiz, Emre Erkmen, Feza Çaldıran, Özgür Eken, Gökhan Tiryaki and many more. Especially the signature work of Erkmen, Eken, Çaldıran and Tiryaki has set the standard high and raised the demand for these names in arthouse cinema. They have shot the most award winning films of Turkey and won the best DOP prizes in national festivals.
Other names are now on the rise. Meryem Yavuz (33) is the only female DOP actively working in the field, she has been the force behind many young directors including female ones. “Seaburners” and “Dust Cloth” both of which premiered in Berlinale Forum and “Salı”, a short film competed for Golden Palm in Cannes are among her latest successes. She is an alumni of 2009 Berlinale Talent Campus. Türksoy Gölebeyi (36) made two successful collaborations with Zeki Demirkubuz in “Underground” and “Nausea”, he has become a leading name in his field with internationally acclaimed films like “Sivas”. Vedat Özdemir (42) has been collaborating with multi-award winner writer - director Onur Ünlü in most of his films. He stands out with challenging projects like “Çekmeköy Underground” and “Mother Land”.
London Film School alumnus Barış Özbiçer is famous with the Golden Bear winner “Honey” by Semih Kaplanoglu. He was nominated in the best cinematography categories of European Film Awards and Asia Pacific Awards as the DOP of “Honey”. His successful collaboration with Seren Yuce as DOP of his Venice Film Festival Lion of the Future Award winner film “Majority”, continues with “Swaying Waterlilies”.
Cinema of Turkey has proven itself as an improving, developing, growing film industry in the last decade. Every year new filmmakers enter the market with their debuts. The experienced, talented, young and dynamic generation of cinematographers accompany them to continue to shine the light of Turkey in cinema.
Film critic and publicist - jury member (Turkey)
THE DUST CLOTH
Turkey/ 2015/ 99’
Director: Ahu Öztürk
Scr: Ahu Öztürk
Cinematographer: Meryem Yavuz
Cast: Asiye Dinçsoy, Nazan Kesal, Serra Yilmaz, Didem Inselel
STORY: Nesrin and Hatun are two Kurdish cleaning women living in Istanbul. While Nesrin tries to survive with her little daughter in the big city, trying to understand why her husband left her, Hatun dreams of buying a house in the districts where she goes to clean.
Turkey/ 2015/ 116’
Director: Zeki Demirkubuz
Scr: Zeki Demirkubuz
Cinematographer: Türksoy Gölebeyi
Cast: Zeki Demirkubuz, Şebnem Hassanisoughi, Öykü Karayel, Cemre Ebuzziya, Ç̧aglar Ç̧orumlu, Ercan Kesal
STORY: Ahmet, a university lecturer, sees off his wife and daughter after they both decide to separate for a while. When news arrives the same night that both have been killed in a car accident, Ahmet is with his lover… Quick-witted and intelligent, but free of self-importance, Ahmet cares about no one or anything and bows to no authority. Like everything else, he shrugs off the incident and carries on with the cherished bohemian life that suits him so well. A series of strange things start happening for no apparent reason whatsoever. Ahmet begins to dither even over minor things and to show uncharacteristic weakness with people he usually discounts altogether.
Turkey/ Germany/ 2015/ 88’
Director: Seren Yuce
Scr: Seren Yuce
Cinematographer: Baris Ozbicer
Cast: Tolga Tekin, Songul Oden, Tulay Gunal, Eraslan Saglam, Duru Lal Pekel, Taha Yusuf, Serpil Gural
STORY: Having reached their 40’s Handan and Korhan live a humdrum life in an upper scale neighbourhood in Istanbul. Handan tries to keep herself occupied, relentlessly trying on new pastimes, counting on Korhan’s support for each one. Korhan, on the other hand, having witnessed too many of her whims, has learnt not to make much of them. Failing to get any support or attention from her husband, she takes up writing in order to fill her void, which she imitates from her author friend Sermin. Her aspiration quickly turns into jealousy, disrupting the dynamics between the two families.
Turkey/ 2015/ 85’
Director: Emre Konuk
Scr: Emre Konuk
Cinematographer: Gürol Beşer
Cast: Hakan Atalay, Çiğdem Selışık Onat, Tuğrul Çetiner, Levent Öktem, Sencar Sağdıç, Beran Soysal, Nilüfer Açıkalın, Handan Yıldırım, Merve Dağlı, Şakir Güler, Rukiye Yenigül
STORY: Alim works as a tailor´s apprentice to Yakup for the past 15 years. Obsessive and fearful of death, he is stuck in the routine of a mundane life. He opens the store in the mornings and either takes a nap or watches TV until his boss arrives. In the evenings, he goes home carpooling with Kemal from the coffeehouse. When he watches a news item on TV about the perils of cars running on LPG, he starts to check out each taxi he rides on to see whether it runs on autogas or not, each time, he marks a score. To avoid using a vehicle, he decides to move to a new apartment closer to work. This change he makes will be a vital turning point for Alim.
Turkey/ Germany/ 2016/ 83’
Director: Ayhan Salar, Erkan Tahhuşoğlu
Scr: Erkan Tahhuşoğlu, Ayhan Salar
Cinematographer: Ayhan Salar
Cast: Senem Çelikkol, Bedia Yaman, Mine Özen, Raci Küçük, Zeynep Raif, Ali Meriç
STORY: A young woman waits for her husband to return from one of his regular business trips. However, he never shows up, and her joyful anticipation of seeing him develops into questioning concern and ultimately paralysing fear. The empty apartment becomes a labyrinth of memory and expectation, its silence broken only by the agonising sound of car engines, none of which announce her husband’s arrival…