Festival on Wheels starts 21st journey
The Festival on Wheels is preparing to hit the road for the 21st time on Nov. 26 in Ankara before setting forth to the west and north.
Following screenings at the Contemporary Arts Center until Dec. 2, the festival will continue at Sanat Mahal in the northwestern province of Bursa between Dec. 4 and 7 and at Kastamonu University in the northern province of Kastamonu on Dec. 9 and 10.
The theme of this year’s Festival on Wheels, “Precarious Lives,” zeros in on the human condition in a world where hopes of a better life have all but evaporated. The spotlight is shone on individuals who have lost their social status or are struggling to adjust to the status quo against a background of precarious and unstable conditions.
One of several pieces due to premiere in Turkey at the festival, “Extraordinary Tales,” promises to appeal as much to cinephiles as to fans of Edgar Allen Poe. With award-winning Spanish animator Raul Garcia in the director’s chair, the film revisits five of Poe’s best-known stories, giving each one a different style to uniquely match its mood.
“Our Everyday Life” comes from the Bosnian woman director, Ines Tanovic. Exploring the struggles of the post-war country through its focus on a typical middle-class family, the drama has been selected to represent Bosnia and Herzegovina in the foreign language film category at the Academy Awards early next year.
Directed by Slovak filmmaker Ivan Ostrochovsky, “Koza” tells the poignant story of a retired Roma boxer who returns to the ring in the hope of keeping his family together. With its amateur cast of professional sportsmen, among them Peter Balaz, who competed at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, and Olympic medalist Jan Franek, “Koza” came away from the Vilnius Film Festival with the CICAE Art Cinema and best film awards, from the goEast Film Festival with the FIPRESCI Prize and best director award, and from the IndieLisboa Independent Film Festival with a special mention. The film has also been selected as Slovakia’s submission in the foreign language film category at the upcoming Academy Awards.
As Brazil’s Academy Award entry this year, “The Second Mother” picked up the special jury prize for acting at Sundance, followed by the C.I.C.A.E. and Panorama Audience Awards at the Berlinale.
With Anna Muylaert at the helm, the film recounts the events that unfold when Val, the live-in housekeeper for a wealthy family, is faced with the sudden appearance of her estranged daughter who is preparing to sit her university entrance exams.
Also featured in this year’s world cinema line-up is Santiago Mitre’s Argentine production, “Paulina,” which took the Critics’ Week Grand Prize and FIPRESCI Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. The drama focuses on the story of the title character, Paulina, who ditches a promising career to teach in one of Argentina’s poorer regions and struggles to adapt to and understand the local dynamics.
Another of this year’s standout films is “Tikkun,” which will also premiere in Turkey at the festival. Picking up awards at the Locarno and Jerusalem Film Festivals, the story centers on Haim, an Orthodox Jew from Jerusalem who begins to question his faith after collapsing and passing out in the bathroom.
Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth” follows retired composer Fred, played by Michael Caine, on holiday with his film director friend Mick (Harvey Keitel). Premiering at Cannes, “Youth” is enhanced by a strong cast, including Rachel Weisz, Jane Fonda and Paul Dano.
Another offering, “Cemetery of Splendour” from Palme d’Or-winning Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, brings to the screen the story of Jenjira, a lonesome housewife.
The festival is being organized by the Ankara Cinema Association with contributions from the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
Turkey 2015 and jazz surprise
The Turkey 2015 section offers a chance to watch some exciting new local output. “Yearning” (Hasret), the latest offering from Ben Hopkins, will premiere in Turkey at the festival and is billed as one of the finest examples of recent Turkish cinema.
Tolga Karaçelik’s second feature, “Ivy” (Sarmaşık), Zeki Demirkubuz’s “Nausea” (Bulantı), Senem Tüzen’s debut feature, “Motherland” (Anayurdu), and Emin Alper’s “Frenzy” (Abluka) will be screened in this section of the festival.
Audiences will have the chance to meet directors of the films in the Turkey 2015 section during the screenings.
One of the surprises of the festival will be “Jazz Goes to Movies,” which focuses on the cultural and aesthetic relationship between the image and this genre of music during different periods.Pete Kelly’s “Blues” Cab Calloway’s “Hi-De-Ho,” “Black and Tan Fantasy,” “Big Ben: Ben Webster in Europe,” “Begone Dull Care,” “When it Rains,” and “Jammin’ the Blues” will be screened in this section with the contribution of U.S. Embassy in Ankara.
Short is Good and children’s films
The line-up of shorts selected from festival entries from around the world promises to introduce audiences to the innovative cinema of many different countries.
“Bath House,” “Listen,” “Rhizome,” “A Trial. The Transcript,” The Jungle,” “Architecture,” “Oh Lucy,” “Down to Earth,” “Symbolic Threats” “Tehran-Geles” and “Duty” are some of the short films in the program.
This year’s children’s films come from Norway. Among them are “Pupil’s Concert” “Fishing With Sam,” “Jump,” “Pl.ink!” “Warp,” “The Cowboy – In Color” and “The Marathon Diary.” The Short is Good and children’s films sections are both free of charge.
Art of Disagreement: Işıl Eğrikavuk
The Festival on Wheels also aims to build a bridge between cinema and contemporary art in Turkey. As this year’s guest artist, the festival is hosting artist and former Hürriyet Daily News journalist Işıl Eğrikavuk. In her videos and performance art, Eğrikavuk highlights the contradictions between the realities of everyday life and the society of the spectacle that the media seek to create. Her work has been shown at numerous international exhibitions to date. The festival has picked five pieces by the artist best described as variations on the mockumentary form: “Infamous Library,” “Gül,” “The Interview,” “Memory Museum” and “Reverse Corner.” The videos use the language of the absurd to explore societal problems.
Eğrikavuk will give two performances that will feature the participation of Ankara audiences on Nov. 28 and Dec. 5.