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UCL Mellon Programme: Interdisciplinary Seminar 2008-2009

Seminar: 5 March 2009 (Chair: Dr Cüneyt Çakirlar, more ... )

Nomadic Discourses in post-90s Turkish Cinema

A screening and discussion of

Üç Maymun (Three Monkeys) (English sub-titles)
(dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2008)

The film theorist Asuman Suner sees ‘a strong thematic continuity’ in the ‘New Turkish Cinema’ which can be taken as a symptomatic emergence of a post-1980s critical auteur sensibility in the cinematic production following the ideological crises the military coup triggered: ‘this thematic fixation can be seen as a response to a growing anxiety in Turkish society around the questions of identity belonging’ (2004: 307). Such tropes of disidentification are strongly visible in the cinemas of Zeki Demirkubuz and Nuri Bilge Ceylan. The directors implement ‘a class/ed accent’ to their filmic narrative by gesturing to the political economy of national belonging and its dissolution.

Ceylan’s early films The Small Town (1997), Clouds of May (1999) and Uzak (2002) act as a trilogy and focus mainly on issues of urban/provincial in Turkey. With Climates (2006) and 3 Monkeys (2008), the director’s early enthusiasm with documentary, photography, landscape and self-inscription shifts to different stylistic experimentations. 3 Monkeys is a noir story about the affair of Hacer with his husband’s boss Eyup. The film narrates the family’s choice of silence to cover up the harsh truth and to stay together. We will try to situate the film in Ceylan’s work, and also discuss the narrative dynamics of gender and class.

Suggested Reading

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

Suner, Asuman. ‘Horror of a Different Kind: Dissonant Voices of the New Turkish Cinema’, Screen 45:4, Winter 2004, pp. 305-23.

Suner, Asuman. ‘Outside in: “Accented Cinema” at large’, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 7:3, September 2006, pp. 363-82.


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

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