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Festival of Wheels to tour Turkey with coup films

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News | 12/2/2010 12:00:00 AM |

The 16th Festival on Wheels, which will travel to Ankara, Artvin and Ordu until Dec. 19, begins Friday with its focus on coups d’etat in recognition of the 30th anniversary year of Turkey’s Sept. 12 putsch. Part of the festival will feature films examining the impact of coups not only in Turkey, but also in Portugal, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Greece

With a focus on the destruction wrought by military coups from Turkey and beyond, the 16th Festival on Wheels is beginning Friday in Ankara with a number of socially aware films centered on this year’s theme, “Coup d’Etat.”

The festival will continue in Ankara until Dec. 9 before moving to the Black Sea province of Artvin between Dec. 10 and 16, and the Black Sea province of Ordu between Dec. 16 and 19.

The “Lives into Line!” section is made up of films examining the impact of military coups not only in Turkey, but also in Portugal, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Greece. In particular, the films reflect on how military coups have overshadowed the future of these countries and essentially destroyed people’s lives. A coup theme was chose because 2010 is the 30th anniversary of Turkey’s Sept. 12, 1980, military takeover.

The line-up includes Costa Gavras’s classic “Missing,” which tells the story of an American father searching for his journalist son who disappeared after being taken into custody in Chile under the Augosto Pinochet dictatorship; full-length feature films such as “The Year My Parents Went on Vacation,” a portrait of 1970 Brazil through the eyes of 10-year-old Mauro; the Susana Sousa Dias documentary “48,” in which the director uses a unique and innovative cinematic style to present a series of interviews with political prisoners during the 48-year military dictatorship in Portugal; and “The Judge and the General,” a documentary co-directed by Elizabeth Farnsworth and Patricio Lanfranco, which traces the battle by Chilean judge Juan Guzmán, a supporter of Pinochet until 1988, to bring the former dictator to justice.

The section will also present two films dealing with Turkey’s Sept. 12 military coup, including “Beynelminel” (The International), a feature co-directed by Sırrı Süreyya Önder and Muharrem Gülmez that recounts the tragicomic events of the period through the eyes of provincial people in a small town in southeast Turkey as they endeavor to fall into step with the military regime; and Özlem Sulak’s documentary, “12 Eylül” (September 12), which had its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival.

[HH] Golden Bull Film Competition in Artvin

The festival’s competition section features a total of 10 films hailing from as far and wide as Peru, Hungary, China and Romania. Some of these films are Hungarian director Szabolcs Hajdu’s “Bibliothèque Pascal;” Ágnes Kocsis’s “Adrienn Pal;” “October,” the directorial debut of Peruvian brothers Daniel and Diego Vega; Olivier Masset-Depasse’s “Illegal;” and Saç (Hair), the latest feature from Turkish director Tayfun Pirselimoğlu.

The festival will also present a section dedicated to Turkish films made in 2010 with the Turkish Cinema 2010 section showcasing four outstanding examples of local filmmaking from the last calendar year.

Also featured is Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere,” which won the Golden Lion at Venice this year. The film has rated as one of the year’s best titles, reflecting star performances from Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning.

“Socialism,” the latest film from one of the leading ambassador of French New Wave, Jean-Luc Godard, hangs loosely on the maxim, “Ideas divide us; dreams bring us together,” and develops through various conversations between the unorthodox passengers aboard a ship cruising the Mediterranean. “Somewhere” and “Socialism” will screen for the first time in Ankara.

[HH] Lives from city to small town

Unique to this year’s festival is the section “Refugee in the City,” which introduces two remarkable documentaries about the consequences of urban regeneration projects for human lives as much as city plans.

Astrid Heubrandtner’s “My House Stood in Sulukule” presents the demolition of Istanbul’s Sulukule district through the eyes of people experiencing the process first-hand. Meanwhile, Sophia Tzavella’s “Paradise Hotel” turns the camera on a residential area built by Bulgaria’s communist government 25 years ago. Both films will encourage audiences to question the urban regeneration projects permanently in the news in Turkey.

Having made the provinces its home for so many years, the Festival on Wheels offers a grateful nod to the countryside with a dedicated program section, as well as a publication of the same title. While “Vavien,” the latest feature from the Taylan brothers, sheds light on provincial life, different portrayals of the provinces are discussed in “A Time in the Country,” a collection of essays edited by Tül Akbal and Aslı Güneş. The book explores the motif of the provinces in culture and the arts.

A retrospective of work by Swedish duo Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjarne Nilsson, a household name among short film devotees, stands to be one of the most eagerly anticipated sections of the 16th Festival on Wheels. Highlights of the line-up include “Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers,” “Hotel Rienne” and “Woman and the Gramophone.”

The program also features “New Zealand in Short,” a collection of shorts by masters such as Niki Caro and Grant Lahood, as well as festival staples “Short is Good” and “Children’s Films,” which this year comprises a selection of animation films from Slovakia.

[HH] Talk sessions

The festival’s talk sessions, which will be held in Ankara, also promise much excitement.

Panel discussions will be on “Coups d’Etat, Cinema and Memory” and “A Time in the Country.” Separately, the “Refugee in the City” section will include a question-and-answer session with the participation of Heubrandtner.

During its Artvin leg, the festival will host a number of workshops led by prominent figures from the international film industry. Meanwhile, 11-13 year-olds will be the focus of an Animation Workshop with instruction from Dutch animation artist Niek Castricum.

The festival has been organized by the Ankara Cinema Association in association with the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, the Artvin Governor’s Office, Artvin Municipality and the Ordu Governor’s Office.

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