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UCL Mellon Programme: Interdisciplinary Seminar 2008-2009

Seminar: 12 February 2009 (Chair: Dr Cüneyt Çakirlar, more ... )

Nomadic Discourses in post-90s Turkish Cinema

A screening and discussion of:

Üçüncü Sayfa (The Third Page) (English sub-titles)
(dir. Zeki Demirkubuz, 1999)

Abstract:

The film theorist Asuman Suner sees ‘a strong thematic continuity’ in the so-called 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 accent’ to their filmic narrative by gesturing to the political economy of national belonging and its dissolution.

The title of Demirkubuz’s film The Third Page (1999) comes from the third-page-news in the Turkish dailies where the crimes of passion and domestic violence are reported as lower class spectacles. The film starts with its male protagonist, a television extra, getting in trouble with the mafia, planning to commit suicide and ending up killing his landlord. Isa’s friendship with his neighbor Meryem, married to an abusive man, turns into love and desire which Meryem constantly manipulates. The story unfolds further and gains a twist at the moment when Meryem asks Isa to kill her husband.

As in the film Innocence (a.k.a Masumiyet, 1997), The ‘strategic’ use of Istanbul’s landscape which the director strategically narrates as dull as possible, the use of pastiche-effects via melodramatic excess and emotional agitation remain here as the crucial ‘signature-elements’ of the director. Suner regards the cinema of Demirkubuz ‘as a horror cinema undercover’ and argues that the characters ‘seem to know that their endeavor will bring them to the same spot … [and to that uncanny,] involuntary repetition’ (2004: 317).

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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