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Up-and-coming Turkish movies screen in Ankara

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News | 3/12/2010 12:00:00 AM | EMRAH GÜLER

The Ankara Film Festival offers a selection of the latest Turkish movies from both newcomer and experienced directors. Here's a look at some of the contenders for the National Competition

The Ankara Film Festival’s National Competition, featuring 11 movies from veteran and up-and-coming directors, is your chance to catch new Turkish films before their official release dates this year.

Here we look at some of the films that haven’t met audiences yet, a selection that covers a diverse range of themes, from conflicts in southeastern Turkey to personal stories about the frustrations of immigrants in Istanbul to what happens when a group of blind men form a football team. Check out www.filmfestankara.org.tr/en for the detailed program.

[HH] ‘Kako Si?’ (How Are You?)

Female director Özlem Akovalıgil plunges deep into the ethnic conflicts of the last decades in Europe in this bizarre road movie, which follows two groups of travelers as they head to Europe from Istanbul. Semahat, who migrated to Turkey decades ago, wants to see her homeland of Sarajevo again before she dies. Two young filmmakers accompany her on the heartbreaking journey. In another story, a young couple who sets off to Germany from Istanbul has their trip cut short by a string of unfortunate events.

[HH] ‘Orada’ (There)

Directed and written by Hakkı Kurtuluş and Melik Saraçoğlu, the film follows 24 hours in a the life of a fallen family. When the matriarch dies in a home for the elderly, the son and the daughter bury their mother and set off to find their father, a recluse in the family house on one of the Princes’ Islands off Istanbul. As the three members of the family come together, it turns into a day of painful confrontations. Veteran stage actor Erol Günaydın plays the father while Sinan Tuzcu (who recently played Atatürk in “Veda”) and Dolunay Soysert portray the siblings.

[HH] ‘Çıngıraklı Top’ (The Ringing Ball)

This unique sports movie comes from first-time director and writer Mahir Egemen Ertürk, who tells the story of a society for the blind that decides to form a football team and enter the Paralympics. That all sounds good on paper, but they have no clue how to gather a team to train for the competition. Eventually, the team is formed by a group of oddballs, including a fisherman, a call-center agent and a man who sells lottery tickets on the street. An ex-football player, now a heavy drinker and gambler, finds that coaching the team might be the ultimate way to escape from his own problems.

[HH] ‘Büyük Oyun’ (A Step into the Darkness)

In this bizarre journey, the viewer follows a young woman, Cennet (Suzan Genç), as she leaves her village for the first time to find the only family connection she has left, her brother. The film looks at the tragic consequences of the guerilla war in southeast Turkey in a new light. It begins with the death of Cennet’s family following a surprise attack, prompting her to take off to Kirkuk to find her brother, Azim. It won’t be an easy journey for her as she faces one problem after another tracking the only person left in her life. The film was directed and written by Atıf İnaç and co-written by Avni Özgürel.

[HH] ‘Deli Deli Olma’ (Piano Girl)

Another film on tragic stories shaped by the consequences of modern history, this one introduces us to two old villagers who have to confront their past. Mishka and Popuç are descendants of a tribe forced to migrate from Russia to the eastern Anatolian city of Kars in the late 19th century. Popuç, for some reason, wants the old woman to leave the village, a decision about which the villagers have opposing opinions. Things change when Mishka becomes terminally ill and the confrontation between Popuç and Mishka reveals a secret. The odd duo is played by veteran actors Tarık Akan and Şerif Sezer. The film is directed by Murat Saraçoğlu, who recently helmed another historical feature on the region, “120.”

[HH] ‘Köprüdekiler’ (The Men on the Bridge)

Female director Aslı Özge blurs the lines of fiction and reality as she brings three men together on the Bosphorus Bridge. The men are immigrants whose families came to Istanbul in the hopes of finding better livelihoods. Fikret sells roses, Umut is a taxi driver and Murat is a traffic policeman. The three live on the outskirts of Istanbul, and each of them unsuspectingly comes to the city center, where millions of people pass from one continent to the other every day during rush hour. The stories of Fikret and Umut are loosely based on their own stories, and they play themselves. The movie won Best Film awards at last year’s Istanbul International and Golden Cocoon Film Festivals, and the Golden Wings award at the London Turkish Film Festival.

[HH] ‘Kara Köpekler Havlarken’ (Black Dogs Barking)

In another story set on the outskirts of Istanbul, two young friends, Selim and Çaça, are in search of their big break as they continue their idle, macho existence. By day, they raise pigeons on their rooftop; by night, they roam the streets with their entourage. Getting close to the local mafia boss seems to be their best hope for an affluent future. Newcomer directors Mehmet Bahadır Er and Maryna Gorbach are hailed as Turkey’s answer to Martin Scorsese, with their inventive shooting style and authentic ear for the city’s underground slang.

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