Women’s retrospective films hit Toronto screens
“Rebel Yell: A New Generation of Turkish Women Filmmakers” shows runs until Aug. 29, is a retrospective that presents a mix of fiction and documentary features and shorts, all directed by a new rising class of Turkish women directors.
The ‘Rebel Yell: A New Generation of Turkish Women Filmmakers’ program begins today at TIFF Bell Light Box, offering viewers a chance to sample a retrospective of top Turkish movies Challenging patriarchy and other forms of oppression, TIFF is beginning screenings of a retrospective of Turkish female filmmakers’ works.
Running from today until Aug. 29, “Rebel Yell: A New Generation of Turkish Women Filmmakers” presents a mix of fiction and documentary features and shorts, all directed by a new rising class of Turkish women directors. It features acclaimed director’s retrospectives, national and regional spotlights, experimental and avant-garde cinema and classic films, including many new and rare archival prints. Of the 4,400 films that were made in Turkey from the 1950s through the 1980s, only 52 were directed by women. “Rebel Yell: A New Generation of Turkish Women Filmmakers” provides a varied overview of what is on the minds of Turkish female filmmakers.
The opening film of the program, “Present Tense” from director Belmin Söylemez, follows a young woman looking for a way out from her dead-end economic life and failed marriage, who takes a job reading fortunes in an Istanbul cafe. The program also features short documentary subjects. “Documentaries are an area of Turkish filmmaking where women directors are finding a lot of traction and the subjects again reflect a panoply of various social concerns,” the organizers said.
Movies of Turkish directors Director Somnur Vardar’s “Beginnings” centers around the proceedings of “Speaking to One Another,” a project designed to unite Turkish and Armenian young people to revisit “sites of memory” associated with the events of 1915. The film is a sensitive and insightful treatment of the first tentative steps toward reconciliation. Pelin Esmer’s documentary “The Play” may be the film most reflective of the general position of Turkish female filmmakers themselves. Esmer follows a group of women who band together to write and perform a play based on their own life stories, an activity not generally endorsed by the culture around them but one that yields surprising results for the women. The documentary category for “Rebel Yell” also features two short documentary subjects about men and the conception of masculinity in Turkish society. “Concrete Park” from Berke Baş is a serious examination of the lives of young men in Ordu, a city in the Black Sea region of Turkey, who find themselves caught between a traditional vision of Turkish masculinity and the actual opportunities before them. At the other end of the spectrum is Söylemez’s “The Moustache.” The short documentary is a look at the love affair Turkish men have with their moustache.