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TIFF Cinematheque - Female Turk Directors

21 Aug 2013


This programme of fiction and documentary shorts and features spotlights the vital new work being created by a rising generation of female Turkish filmmakers.

This series in entitled

Rebel Yell: A New Generation of Turkish Women Filmmakers

For full details of the program, venue, ticket pricing and show times check the TIFF website at:


Capsule reviews of 2 films in the series:

BEGINNERS (Turkey 2013) ***

Directed by Somnur Vardar


BEGINNERS is a documentary that observes the proceedings of the 2012 “Speaking to One Another” project, which brings together youth from Armenia and Turkey in a framework of camaraderie and reconciliation to revisit “sites of memory” associated with the Armenian genocide of 1915.  It begins with a tour of Mush, in Turkey where Armenians were forced to leave.  The film then moves to a tour in Armenia where the Armenians have a say to the camera.  The climax and third part of the doc is the filming of the project meeting after the memorial for the dead in which both side express their deepest emotions.  Vardar’s film is more educational as an eye-opener to those unfamiliar with the problem among the Kurds, Turks and Armenians.  It is also very motional as the audience watches the participants trying to find closure with a problem that cannot be closed.

THE PLAY (OYUN) (Turkey 2005)***

Directed by Pelen Esmer


Small budget but amusing little film about village housewives performing a play to tell their hardened stories in order to speak up and thus change tradition in the village.  One story involves a young girl being given as compensation of the family of the girl her brother ran off with.  She works all the time while the husband drinks and womanizes.  Another escapes from home to her school teacher on the nigh she is about to be given off as a bride by her parents.  These are interesting true stories.  The play director changes the names of he characters, which could be performed by the wives who actually told those stories.  Of course, conflicts like the sacrifice of family duties vs. acting come into play.  But the film is a cheerful one, with the housewives often breaking into uncontrollable laughter as they act out their true stories.  Shot like a documentary but it could very well be all these actors pretending to be in a documentary.  The end is an intriguing and rather entertaining enterprise.


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