Contemporary Turkish Film Festival Offers Window into Life, Culture in Turkey

Friday, September 30, 2016 - 7:00pm - Sunday, October 9, 2016 - 5:00pm

Turkish cinema, an important part of the arts and culture scene in Turkey, is a flourishing industry characterized by a wealth of independent film makers, enthusiastic audience support nationally, and increasing recognition and accolades in international film circles. With smaller budgets than the average American production, and more of a focus on serious or heavy subjects, Turkish cinema is often described as “video art” within the country.

This fall, the Penn Museum, in conjunction with the Turkish American Friendship Society of the U.S. (TAFSUS), present Philadelphia area film-goers with a rare offering: a curated festival of celebrated Turkish films, running Friday, September 30 through Sunday, October 9. Six films ranging from dramas to an English-language travel documentary offer audiences insight into contemporary Turkish culture. Evrim Kaya, Editor and Co-host of On Seansi, a weekly Turkish television program on Hayat TV about cinema, introduces the films. Admission is $10 per film.

The Turkish Film Festival is presented in honor of The Golden Age of King Midas, a special world-exclusive exhibition of treasures from the Republic of Turkey, on view through November 27. Admission to the Museum and the special exhibition, open during regular Museum hours, is additional.

In selecting films for the festival, Lale Iskarpatyoti, TAFSUS Vice President, a Turkish cinema fan, and the festival’s curator, consulted with her childhood friend Nihal Koldas, now a renowned Turkish actor, director, scene designer and writer with nearly 30 years in the industry. Together, they selected films that provide a variety of perspectives on life in Turkey, from its renowned cities to ancestral rural villages. Festival audiences at the Museum can see Ms. Koldas onscreen in Mustang (2015) and Motherland (2015), the latter performance earning her a Best Actress Award at the International Adana Film Festival.

Though growing in popularity internationally, Turkish films and film festivals remain rare in the United States, with notable Northeast festivals in Boston and New York.

The Turkish Film Festival is a first for TAFSUS, who seek to promote cultural understanding throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey. “Quality films can be a great way to gain insight into a people, reflected through their hopes, dreams, and histories. We hope this film festival offers a better understanding of Turkey and its people,” said Ms. Iskarpatyoti.


Friday, September 30, 7:00 pm
Istanbul Unveiled (1 hour, 1 minute)
Explore Istanbul in this 2013 travel documentary film produced in English. Scriptwriter Şerif Yenen co-produced the film with Saadet Özen and co-directed it with Levent Ayasli.

Saturday, October 1, 3:00 pm
The Swaying Waterlily (1 hour, 48 minutes)
Handan (39) and Korhan (40) are a well-off married couple. They live in a fancy Istanbul neighborhood, have many friends, and a 10-year old daughter. Life is good—or perhaps not? The family has forgotten how to communicate, how to be close, even to show the slightest interest in one another. Handan wants to escape this emptiness and dreams of personal fulfillment with a café of her own or as a writer. Seren Yüce directs this 2015 drama.

Sunday, October 2, 3:00 pm
Mustang (1 hour, 37 minutes)
In a Turkish village, five orphaned sisters (Günes Sensoy, Tugba Sunguroglu, Elit Iscan) live under strict rule while members of their family prepare their arranged marriages, in this award winning 2015 Turkish language film directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven. Discussion follows.

Friday, October 7, 7:00 pm
Bliss (Mutluluk) (2 hours, 6 minutes)
A professor (Talat Bulut) crosses paths with a young man (Murat Han) and the teenager (Özgü Namal) he was supposed to dispatch in an honor killing, in this 2007 drama directed by Abdullah Oğuz.

Saturday, October 8, 3:00 pm
The Butterfly’s Dream (2 hours, 30 minutes)
Set in Turkey in the early 1940s, this drama revolves around two male friends, Rustu Onur and Muzaffer Tayyip Uslu. Members of the Garip poets movement, they make a living out of publishing their poems while World War II is in full swing across the world. Life changes as the social class system and religious barriers jeopardize their love lives, their friendship, and their profession, in this 2013 film directed by Yılmaz Erdoğan.

Sunday, October 9, 3:00 pm
Motherland (1 hour, 38 minutes)
This 2015 drama by Turkish director Senem Tüzen focuses on a divorced, urban woman who goes to her ancestral village in Anatolia to write a book and is confronted by the unwelcomed arrival of her mother. Discussion follows. 

Event Type: 
Arts & Culture
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