Women elevating the Int’l Istanbul Film Festival

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Women elevating the Int’l Istanbul Film Festival
Oluşturulma Tarihi: Nisan 04, 2009 00:00

ISTANBUL -Among the female directors in the national competition of the Int’l Istanbul Film Festival, Aslı Özge and Pelin Esmer tell of Istanbulus tied to each other’s fates while San Sebastian winner Yeşim Ustaoğlu looks at isolation through a family’s broken relations

This year's 28th annual International Istanbul Film Festival that starts this weekend features an impressive array of Turkish women, from three directors in the national competition to others daring to move Turkish cinema in new directions. While the festival heralds a film starring a 14-year-old actress in a role about hope despite a world gone bad, it looks back to honor film great Hale Soygazi.

Festival Director Azize Tan was enthusiastic about the participation of all three Turkish women directors in the national competition. "It’s great for audiences that these three directors will be at the festival to present their films," Tan told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review Tuesday. The festival runs April 4-19.

Director Aslı Özge’s "Men on the Bridge" tells the story of illegal rose-seller Fikret, taxi driver Umut and traffic cop Murat who all live in the suburbs of Istanbul and come to work each day on the Bosphorus Bridge. The film's intersecting stories are based on the real lives of the main characters. Telling the stories of Berliners in her first fiction feature "A Little Bit of April" (2003), Özge this time reveals the dreams and aspirations of the young generation in Istanbul. (April 15, We. 9:30 p.m. Emek)

Fellow entry in the national competition is Pelin Esmer whose festival screening of "10 to 11" will be a world premier. Her fiction feature debut is the story of a passionate collector Mithat and the concierge of the building, (April 16, Th. 11:00 a.m. Emek)

Winner of 2008 San Sebastian Best Film, director Yeşim Ustaoğlu’s film "Pandora’s Box", another national competitor, is a story of alienation and isolation in the middle class told through an estranged family. (April 14 Tu. 4:00 p.m. Emek

Representing new directions in Turkish cinema, the film "Underground" by Nur Akalın follows Sinan, who is pursued by the police after witnessing the death of his boss at the construction site where he works and an accident suffered by his close friend. (April 16 Th. 1:30 p.m. Beyoğlu) In the same category, director Özlem Akovalıgil shadows an elderly woman, who emigrated to İstanbul from Sarajevo many years ago in her feature "How Are You?" (April 14 Tu. 7:00 p.m. Beyoğlu)

Looking at women head on

Several Turkish films by male directors in the competition embrace female characters head on. "Two Lines" examines a Turkish businesswoman living with her photographer boyfriend as a contemporary lens follows the couple to the south of Turkey where they find their journey unraveling. The winner of Cannes and in several other festivals, "Three Monkeys" takes an internal, agonizing look at a woman struggling with her conscience and identity as a wife and a mother.

In his latest film "My Only Sunshine" director Reha Erdem introduces Elit İşcan as fourteen-year-old Hayat, her father and bedridden grandfather who live in a wooden shack along the Bosphorus. (April 16 Th. 4:00 p.m. Emek) In "A Fatal Dress: Polygamy" Mujder Aslan, an established documentary filmmaker, shares the story of her aunt who becomes paralyzed as a result of the trauma of polygamous marriage. (April 15 We. 7:00 p.m. Pera) Multiple award winner in 1992, "Daydreams of Miss Cazibe" focuses on the film's lead played by Hale Soygazi, who is receiving one of the festival’s Honorary Awards. Cazibe lives with her insanely overprotective mother and alcoholic uncle, who is secretly in love with her. Her only escape from their oppression is through an imaginary world where she meets with her high school sweetheart Kürşat. (April 16 Th. 4:00 p.m. Beyoğlu)

Adapted from Turkey's first celebrated female author Halide Edip Adıvar's 1926 novel, the 1949 version of "Strike the Whore" will also be screened. Director is Lütfi Akad (April 10 Fr. 9:30 p.m. Emek)

Inspired by news in 2001 of a "sex boycott" by women in Sirt, a small village in Antalya, demanding the local men fix the water system, German writer-director Veit Helmer said he knew right away that he would make a film using this storyline. "It would be about a couple against the village, rather than men against women or women against men," Helmer told Filmmaker Magazine in February. Influenced by masters of silent film such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, "Absurdistan" was a labor of love on and off the screen. With a freshly infused dose of whimsy in a traditional village that could be in Turkey or Azerbaijan, where it was filmed, he cast actors from 16 different countries. "There were 17 relationships, three couples married after the shooting and I'm attending festivals all the time and have to go because babies get baptized," the director said. (April 6 Mo. 4:00 p.m. Atlas / April 8 We. 7:00 p.m. Atlas / Atlas 9 Th. 7:00 p.m. Rexx)

Master filmmakers from Peru

Join the Women in Sight page next weekend for an overview of the festival’s stellar line-up of international women of film. In the meantime, don’t miss world-class Peruvian-born documentary filmmaker Heddy Honigmann presenting her film in person about poverty and poetry in a country plundered by the powerful. Wandering the streets of Lima, visiting restaurants, we meet moving characters, a street vendor, a shoeshine boy who look at history with humor and irony. "She is a tough woman and a very important filmmaker," Festival Director Tan said. (April 6 Mo. 1:30 p.m. Beyoğlu / April 10 Fr. 4:00 p.m. Beyoğlu / April 11 Sa. 9:30 p.m. Beyoğlu)

For further info, www.iksv.org/film/english
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