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UCL Mellon Programme: Interdisciplinary Seminar 2008-2009

Seminar: 15 January 2009 (Chair: Dr Cüneyt Çakirlar, more ... )

Nomadic Discourses in post-90s Turkish Cinema

A screening and discussion of

Lola + Bilidikid (dir. Kutlug Ataman, 1999)
Iki Genç Kız (2 Girls) (dir Kutlug Ataman, 2005)

More about the work of Kutlug Altaman ...


In these weekly screenings and discussions, we will try to understand how contemporary Turkish cinema travels globally and how issues of gender, sexuality, nationality and class operate.   We will start with the two feature films by the video-artist Kutlug Ataman.  

Lola + Bilidikid (1999) is set in the Turkish gay/drag subculture of Berlin. The film narrates Murat’s search for his brother who ran away from the family home. The story unfolds as Murat finds his brother, a Transe called Lola, and his man Bilidikid. Ataman’s film confronts the doubled problem of doubly nomadic subjects in German-Turkish context. Clark argues that the film ‘offers a postmodern, utopian vision that undoes the chronologies of a number of master narratives – the sexual “progress” of European gay liberation, the assimilationist narrative of immigration, and the Kemalist narrative of modernisation itself – opening up a queer array of possible sexual and cultural identities’ (Clark 2006: 555).

A film adaptation of Perihan Magden’s novel, 2 Girls (2005) focuses on the passionate relationship between two teenagers in Istanbul. Through this queer encounter, Ataman ‘explore[s] the tensions in the newly emerging cultural amalgam with the formation of a lower middle class in Turkish society in the late 80’s and 90’s’ (Baykal 2008: 20-1).

Suggested Readings:

Adelson, Leslie A. The Turkish Turn in Contemporary German Literature: Toward a New Critical Grammar of Migration ( New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2005).

Baykal, Emre. Kutlug Ataman: Sen Zaten Kendini Anlat! / Kutlug Ataman: You Tell About Yourself Anyway! ( Istanbul: YKY, 2008).

Clark, Christopher. ‘Transculturation, Transe Sexuality, and Turkish Germany: Kutluğ Ataman’s Lola und Bilidikid’, German Life and Letters 59:4, October 2006, pp. 555-72.

Dönmez-Colin, Gönül. Turkish cinema : Identity, Distance and Belonging ( London: Reaktion, 2008).

Hamm-Ehsani, Karin. ‘Intersections: Issues of National, Ethnic, and Sexual Identity in Kutlug Ataman’s Berlin Film Lola und Bilidikid’, Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies 44:3, September 2008, pp. 366-81.

Kılıçbay, Barış. ‘Impossible crossings: Gender Melancholy in Lola + Bilidikid and Auslandstournee’, New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film 4: 2, October 2006, pp. 105-15.

Magden, Perihan. 2 Girls, trans. Brendan Freely ( London: Serpent’s Tail, 2005).

Naficy, Hamid. An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking (Princeton: Princeton UP, 2001).

This page last modified 26 September, 2012 by UCL Mellon Admin

Book cover: Muamma

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