Cinema Lies at the Heart of Istanbul
September 25 – October 2, 2014
In conjunction with the exhibition “A Hundred Years of Love”, held in honor of Turkish cinema’s 100th anniversary, Istanbul Modern Cinema presented a program of Istanbul films from different genres and periods, selected by Necip Sarıcı and Müge Turan. Consisting of 10 films set in or themed around Istanbul throughout history, the program reflected the aesthetic transformation the city has undergone from its old days to the present, and also functioned as a kind of documentary on the city’s social history and architecture. From its squatter neighborhoods to its palaces, the program showed the city’s thousands of faces, merging entirely different lives and stories in Istanbul.
THE QUAY OF THE LONELY ONES, 1959
Turkey | DVD, Black & White, 113’ | Turkish, English subtitles
Director: Ö. Lütfi Akad
Cast: Sadri Alışık, Çolpan İlhan, Turgut Özatay, Melahat İçliCaptain Rıdvan is a lonely man who finds peace in the harbors he visits, until he meets Countess Güner who lives in the care of Ali, a bar owner. The latter will not easily let go of Güner, who is a desperate character. The setting, which shows seedy places in a foggy Istanbul, corresponds to the state of mind of these characters, who find themselves mired in a pessimistic world. The script was written by Atilla İlhan, and the film is evocative of the French poetic realism movement. Through her performance in this film, we would like to pay homage to Çolpan İlhan, who passed away recently.
ISTANBUL TALES, 2005
Turkey | 35mm, Color, 99’ | Turkish, English subtitles
Director: Ömür Atay, Kudret Sabancı, Yücel Yolcu, Ümit Ünal, Selim Demirdelen
Cast:Altan Erkekli, Özgü Namal, Mehmet Günsür, Erkan Can, Azra Akın, Nejat İşlerIn a film told by five different directors, five classic tales from our childhood are adapted to present-day Istanbul: The Pied-Piper, Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Little Red Riding Hood. Filmed in Beyoğlu, Yeşilköy, Balat, Suriye Pasajı, the Galata Bridge, Hasköy, Bayrampaşa, and Kadıköy, the film is a kind of panorama of Istanbul. Istanbul Tales won the “Best Turkish Film of the Year” award at the 24th International Istanbul Film Festival.
Turkey | DVD, Black & White, 96’ | Turkish, English subtitles
Director: Ö. Lütfi Akad
Cast: Ayhan Işık, Leyla Sayar, Turgut Özakay, Efgan Efekan, Melahat İçliThe love between Murat Reis, the head of the fire brigade, and Müjgan, a pasha’s daughter, is jeopardized because of the promise Murat Reis makes to Müjgan’s father. While the film is about the story of a man torn between his love and his honor, it also portrays Istanbul prior to the founding of the Republic and the social values of that period.
MUHSIN BEY, 1987
Turkey | DVD, Color, 145’ | Turkish, English subtitles
Director: Yavuz Turgul
Cast:Şener Şen, Uğur Yücel, Sermin Hürmeriç, Osman Cavcı
Ali Nazik comes to Istanbul with dreams of becoming a folksinger and seeks help from his father’s friend from military service, the music producer Muhsin Bey. At first the latter, a true Istanbul gentleman and lover of Turkish art music, refuses this request, but later changes is mind, thinking he can help Ali. “Muhsin Bey” turns a mirror on changing tastes and disappearing values and on old Istanbul versus degeneration and the “arabesque” lifestyle which began in the 1980s. Now considered one of the “Turkish classics,” the film was restored this year and we will be viewing a restored copy.
THE BARKEEPER’S DAUGHTER, 1958
Turkey | DVD, Black & White, 99’ | Turkish
Director: Ö. Lütfi Akad
Cast: Sezer Sezin, Turan Seyfioğlu, Üftade Kimi, Ahmet Tarık Tekçe
Ali has been in prison for many years. The evening he is released he goes to Viran Kazım’s bar. He is in love with the barkeeper’s daughter Zehra, but Çamur Süleyman also has eyes for her. Because of the tricks Çamur plays, Ali’s plans for the future do not quite turn out as expected.
Turkey | DVD, Black & White, 112’ | Turkish
Director: Sami Ayanoğlu
Cast: Suavi Tedü, Gülistan Güzey, Samiye Hün, Hadi Hün, Esen Görkmen
The film is set during the War of Independence in an Istanbul under occupation. Naval captain İzzet Bey carries arms and ammunition to Anatolia. A member of the Kuvayı Milliye (National Militia), İzzet Bey has to fight both the occupying forces and collaborationists. While he is a patriot who does not hesitate to kill his brother-in-law who is a collaborationist, he falls for the British general’s daughter Betty.
MY ONLY SUNSHINE, 2004
Turkey | 35mm, Color, 121’ | Turkish, English subtitles
Director: Reha Erdem
Cast: Elit İşcan, Erdal Beşikçioğlu, Levent Yılmaz, Banu FotocanThe fifth feature by Reha Erdem tells the growing pains of Hayat, a 14-year-old girl who lives with her father who owns a little fishing boat, and her bedridden grandfather. Hayat lives in a wooden shack on the mouth of a river running into the dangerously dark yet beautiful Bosphorus in Istanbul. Her father fishes on these dark waters in his small boat to make a living while also engaging in certain unlawful ventures. Hayat was born into this difficult, harsh, and unrelenting world but she clings to life. She does not lose her courage, endurance, and hope in the face of the injustices of the world
ISTANBUL BENEATH MY WINGS, 1996
Turkey | 35mm, Color, 119’ | Turkish
Director: Mustafa Altıoklar
Cast: Ege Aydan, Beatriz Rico, Haluk Bilginer, Okan Bayülgen, Savaş Ay
The story takes place in the early 17th century, under the rule of Sultan Murat IV. Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi, Logari Çelebi, Bekri Mustafa, and Evliya Çelebi wish to invent a device that will enable people to fly. During their endeavors, Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi falls in love with Francesca, who is the mute daughter of an Italian captain and wants to help them. The film revolves around four characters who wish to realize their dream, against the backdrop of the historical fabric of old Istanbul and a repressive and prohibitionist period of the Ottoman Empire.
NINJA KILLERS, 1974
Turkey, Hong Kong, Italy | DVD, Color, 85’ | Turkish
Cast: Cüneyt Arkın, Wang-Li, Helen-Pou, Lou-Wing, Figen Han, Hüseyin Zan
When Wang, a dangerous gangster from the Far East comes to Istanbul, the Security Department appoints Erol, a successful cop, to catch him. Wang is a skillful martial artist and as soon as he arrives in Istanbul throws his pursuers off his trail and becomes involved in a series of murders. When Hong Kong spy Wi Ti, a martial arts expert like himself, also comes to the city, a merciless chase begins, going from Rumeli Hisarı all the way to Topkapı Palace.
10 TO 11, 2009
Turkey | 35mm, Color, 110’ | Turkish
Director: Pelin Esmer
Cast:Nejat İşler, Mithat Esmer, Tayanç Ayaydın, Laçin Ceylan
Mithat Bey has succeeded in protecting his collections, accumulated over the years, against all kinds of risks. Every item he looks for to ensure the continuity of his collection takes Mithat Bey to different corners of Istanbul. While for Mithat Bey Istanbul is as boundless as his collection, for Ali it consists only of the area surrounding the building of which he is the concierge. When the residents, worried about an eventual earthquake, decide to have the building demolished, the two men’s struggle begins; Mithat Bey to save his collections and Ali to safeguard his life. When Mithat Bey hands Istanbul over to Ali, their relationship, which began for the continuity of the collection, takes on a different cast and ends at a point where, unawares, they change each other's fate.
ISTANBUL IN TURKISH CINEMA
Turkey | DVD, Black & White, 62’ | Turkish
Director: Necip Sarıcı
This documentary of Istanbul, tells the story of cinema from its beginnings as it takes place in the streets of Istanbul. It reminds the viewer of how the streets of this city “are paved with gold,” of its marbles games, its streetcars, lavender, and platonic love. Through Turkish films, the documentary takes us on a journey to the memory of Istanbul, the city which is sometimes lost and sometimes found. Accompanied by beautiful music, ranging from piano improvisations to traditional instrumental pieces, the film emphasizes how cinema is, at the same time, an archivist of the city.