Popular village now a documentary subject
The new documentary features the story of Bademler villagers, who have so far staged and performed plays by Turkey’s famous writers and turned this tradition into a lifestyle. Turkey’s first black and white film ‘Dry Summer’ was shot ithere in 1964 and made the village popular.A village in İzmir, Bademler, which was the subject of Necati Cumalı’s 1964 novel “Susuz Yaz” (Dry Summer), became engraved in the memories of many when Metin Erksan made the novel into a film with the same name.
In this way, Bademler village has become one of the best-known villages in the country and now, after many years, it has inspired a documentary. The documentary tells the extraordinary story of the village, where Turkey’s first village theater was established and has been continuing this tradition for 80 years, and is titled “İki Kalas Bir Heves.” The villagers were last on stage on March 27, World Theater Day.
The documentary, which features the story of villagers, who have so far staged and performed plays by Turkey’s famous writers and turned this tradition into a lifestyle, as well as the history of the village, has been shot with the support of the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
The documentary takes the village’s passion for theater as its central theme. It also reveals the process of choosing a theater play and performing it. Discussions about the play among people, reviews made in the village’s cafes and interpretations about Shakespeare and Brecht are featured in the documentary. Villagers, who work in fields or markets in the morning hours and then go to theater rehearsals, are also interviewed in the documentary. The recent footage is juxtaposed with photographs from the past.
The making of the documentary began a year ago. The director, Mehmet Özgür, who previously produced award-winning documentaries including “Göç” (Immigration) and “Geçmiş Mazi Olmadı” (The Past is not in the Past), explaining the reason for making the documentary, said, “This is a village where father and son, mother and daughter or father-in-law and brother-in-law share a theater stage. The residents of the village have produced and performed countless plays. All the men and women put their efforts in without hesitation. They are mentioned with the roles they play. Their name is written with their gravestone, with their nicknames. Shakespeare Ahmet, Moliere Hasan, Juliet Zeynep, Palet Burhan, Pamili, Mişon Emmi and Koca Hala are some of them. They have realized a utopia. This is why I wanted to introduce this village that is not widely known.”
Erksan’s 1964 black-and-white film “Dry Summer” won Turkey’s first international cinema awards. It won the Golden Bear at the 14th Berlin International Film Festival and the Biennale Award at the 29th Venice Film Festival. The film was also selected as the Turkish entry for “Best Foreign Language Film” at the 37th Academy Awards.
Based on a novel by Necati Cumalı, the film features Erol Taş as a tobacco farmer, who selfishly dams a river to irrigate his own property and ruin his competitors. It is also available in an English dubbed U.S. theatrical release titled “Reflections” produced by William Shelton and directed by David E. Durston.