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4,000-year-old legend about northern Turkey to become film

GİRESUN - Anatolia News Agency | 6/29/2010 12:00:00 AM |

Giresun Island, the home in mythology of female Amazonian warriors, will be the setting of a film to be directed by Nur Dolay. The film will portray both the current negative situation facing Black Sea women and the strong female figures that challenge traditional stereotypes thanks to their Amazonian heritage. The film will also portray May 7 ceremonies that are organized every year in Giresun

According to legend, the 4,000-year-old Giresun Island was used as a base by female Amazon warriors and for generations has been the site of festivities celebrating “Mayıs Yedisi” (May 7), the symbol of spring’s coming. Now the island is set to become the subject of a cinema film.

The film, which is to be directed by Nur Dolay, will portray the burdens facing the women of the Black Sea, as well as the “strong” women figures that challenge traditional stereotypes thanks to the traditions of the Amazonians.

Dolay, who came to the Black Sea city of Giresun for the release of her film “Off Karadeniz” along with starring French actress Melissa Papel, said that the history and culture of the Giresun Island area was very interesting to her. “I did not know that this city was so interesting. I will come here for my next film project and carry out preliminary work. There are very interesting issues that could make for good subjects for a film,” she said.

Dolay said according to a 4,000-year-old mythological legend, Giresun Island was used by Amazonian women as a base and they left the island once a year for abundance and fertilization ceremonies. “The day known as May 7 (May 20 according to the new calendar) has survived until today thanks to the Giresun Aksu Culture and Arts Festival. I want to make a different kind of film inspired by this festival,” she said.

Dolay said she would draw attention to the problems of Black Sea women in the film, and Giresun, where Amazonian women were supposed to have lived, would be the best setting.

Dolay said in her film “Off Karadeniz” she presented the situation of women in society. “The Black Sea region has women who are overwhelmed by heavy burdens on the one hand, and strong women who challenge everything on the other. I want to create an interesting project that includes traditions from the 4,000-year-old festival.”

Dolay said preliminary work for the film would be completed within six months, and locations for filming would be determine during this time. She said the film would be finished in a year.

[HH] Dumping garbage on the coast

Dolay complained that just like in many other Black Sea cities, garbage was dumped on the coasts of Giresun, too, causing an environmental disaster. Criticizing that the garbage dump is close to the festival area, Dolay said: “The scene here is very painful to me. This area is home to all these beautiful, mythological features, and cultural and historical values, but has become a trash dump. Maybe buildings will be constructed on these trash-heaps. The coast will lose its geographical, cultural and mythological value and unfortunately the situation is the same in the whole region. Natural beauty is being destroyed by construction. I will declare all these negative things in the finale of the film, just like in my previous film.”

[HH] Giresun Island and Aksu Festival

Giresun Island and the Aksu Festival reflect a cultural heritage and history spanning 4,000 years. Spring, abundance and fertilization ceremonies, organized for the Hittite goddess Kybele and Anatolian mythological god Priados, are the ideas behind the festival. It is said that Hittite culture moved, over time, to Rome – thanks to these ceremonies.

It is said the ceremonies are related to the Amazonians. According to a legend, Amazonian women lived as warriors on Giresun Island and came together with men once a year to procreate. Male babies ensuing from these unions were either killed or sent to their fathers.

The festival is intended to reflect an old tradition celebrated every year on May 20. Thousands of people, particularly from the rural areas of Giresun, gather for ceremonies every year where the River Aksu flows to the sea.

The ceremonies organized as part of May 7 festivities gained festival status and were integrated into the Aksu Festival in 1977. The event took the name “Giresun Aksu Culture and Arts Festival” in 1984 and later as the “International Black Sea Giresun Aksu Festival.”

During the festival, mythological ceremonies include activities such as throwing stones into where the sea and the river meet and traveling around the island by boat.

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