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UCL Mellon Programme: Interdisciplinary Seminar 2008-2009

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

Nomadic Discourses in post-90s Turkish Cinema

A screening and discussion of:

Masumiyet (Innocence) (English sub-titles) (dir. Zeki Demirkubuz, 1997)

C Blok (English sub-titles) (dir. Zeki Demirkubuz, 1994)

Abstract:

After spending 10 years in prison, in his day of release, Yusuf still wants to be in prison for the rest of his life. Yusuf has no family except his sister and brother-in-law. As he once killed her lover and been imprisoned, his sister hates him. The lonely wanderings of Yusuf after his release brings him face to face with a very strange couple: a prostitute named Ugur and her pimp Bekir, ‘who keep moving from one town to the next dragging Ugur’s mute daughter with them’ (Donmez-Colin 2008: 202). Yusuf finds himself being a part of this family and their journey. Bekir’s suicide changes everything and Yusuf becomes the pimp of Ugur. Innocence is one of the most significant examples of 1990s New Turkish Cinema and the film can be seen as a pastiche of Yesilcam melodramas. As Colin suggests:

‘The plot of Innocence is not very different from that of Yesilcam melodramas watched on TV in decrepit hotels: crimes of passion, desperate men who pimp the women they would like to marry, deaf and dumb little girls, unbelievable coincidences and suicides for love. … When adopting the familiar themes of the once-popular Yesilcam melodramas, but stripping them of their exploitative nature and exaggerated sensationalism, Demirkubuz seems to be saying perhaps it is not the story but how it is told that counts.’ (2008: 202).

After Innocence, we will be seeing Demirkubuz’s first film C Blok, which he considers as ‘an atmosphere film about modern architecture’ and its experience in Istanbul. Tulay, one of the residents of C Blok whose marriage is about to end, sees her housemaid having sex with the apartment’s caretaker’s son Halet in her own bed. This moment triggers a self-journey in Tulay’s life.

Suggested Readings:

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.

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

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