Hacivat Karagöz Neden Öldürüldü? (2006)

Day 46: 05/11/2020

Hacivat Karagöz Neden Öldürüldü?, Ezel Akay

This Turkish comedy movie is about the small cultures such as the Ionians, Esrefoğlu Seljuks, Tatars, Yörük Shamans, Hatunlar (warrior women) living in Anatolia around the time Ottoman Empire was being established. We learn concepts from history books in plain sentences, such as “the Ottoman Empire succeeded because it managed to bring all the Anatolian cultures together” or “Anatolia first had thousands of Gods (under Hittites or Greeks), then adopted Christianity and then Islam”. We don’t really learn “how”.

This movie was great to show me how. A Yörük nomad turns Muslim because he wants to get a job and sees that it is much easier to get a job under the Ottoman rule if you are a Muslim. There is a bishop trying to convert him to Christianity when he hears that. The process is very easy like a Baptism ceremony where the Hoca says a prayer and it is believed you are converted. Yet, when he is asked about his father’s death he says “Göktengri aldı” which means “The Sky God took him” and it is a belief of Shamanic tradition. Today we say that we still carry on many Shamanic rituals such as wearing red or decorating a Christmas tree. I can see “how”. People never really left their rituals or beliefs and carried it from generation to generation.

Technically the movie merges the historical feeling with a painting look very very well. While some of the backgrounds of the movie is painted, the transitions are so smooth from painting to nature that you often feel baffled when it happens.

Also the characters are lighted very well at certain scenes which visualize the historical Hacivat and Karagöz characters really well.

These characters are famous as shadow puppets in Turkish, Anatolian and Balkan cultures and here you can see their transformation from being human beings to being historical characters.

There is a very famous Turkish painting called “Kamplumbağa Terbiyecisi (The Tortoise Trainer)”.

The last scene from the movie very successfully depicts this painting and interprets it in a fictional way to convert Hacivat and Karagöz from alive characters into those shadow puppets.

The moving camera pans from behind the scene to the audience view to show this transformation.

When you really know what you want to say through film, you open a variety of creative ways before yourself to give your message in the most profound way.

Lastly I love it when a small detail in a movie pops up in a very determinative scene. Here, the comedic scene where Hacivat teaches Karagöz to count turns into one of the most tragic scenes I have seen in film history.

Uf. It is very powerful.

Lastly, sending virtual hugs to incredible actors Haluk Bilginer, Beyazıt Öztürk, Ayşen Gruda and Şebnem Dönmez. They are among the greatest representatives of Turkish art ❤ .

La Grande Bellezza (2013)

Day 45: 13/05/2020

La Grande Bellazza, Paolo Sorrentino 

A film on the “feeling of Rome”. I can totally understand that because we feel about on Istanbul as the people who live here too. A film of life, very smooth, moving… Rome is a character just like any other character.

Non linear storytelling – many characters are introduced, they talk about their stuff and then we see it happen. There may be jumps between moments, to emphasize points. Doesn’t care about “hooking the audience in” in the first ten minutes, it has its own storyline and you can follow if you like.

The funeral scene, how he tries not to cry because he is not family, as he explained in the previous scene, he feels he is not the most relevant but she is someone he loved so deeply. The way he caresses the coffin – very heartbreaking.

The details: 

  • the caress on the coffin
  • people checking their lipstick in a funeral

 

Him asking her husband after she dies, can you tell me why she broke up with me ? Him not understanding who his neighbor was ? life … just passing right before your eyes.

Music – the opera that adds to the grandiose of the La Grande Bellezza.

+ Can you really make a giraffe disappear? 

– Yes. 

+ Then can you please make me disappear? 

Une Femme Est Une Femme (1961)

Day 44: 25/04/2020 *social distancing movie club

Une Femme Est Une Femme, Jean Luc Godard 

Loved the world of the movie. Has its own rhythm, logic and dynamic – a movie doesn’t have to be fantastic to have a world or a universe, it simply is a creative reflection of one’s mind. Loved the references to his own movies and Truffaut’s movies. The universe of French New Wave. Loved the part where they listen to music and don’t say anything. Not like a music video, you feel the weight of the song and what it means to sit and listen to a song with someone. Also the part where she asks him if he loves and he asks her back, but she says that it’s unimportant as long as he loves her (he cares to be securely loved) reminds me of so many people I know. Funny that not much has changed ever since. Loved the light transitions and the wink at the beginning of the film directly towards us. I can see the camera movement being iconic in many other directors’ films. It has impact because it serves the story, we are spectators more than viewers, so they are aware of our existence behind the screen too. Love the color design, always very clean and lucid, gives a message, palettes used together very well. Anna Karenina and her clothes, what a lovely woman.

94238468_1202514933423682_8936822951420887040_n

Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)

Day 43: 04/04/2020 *social distancing film club

Cave of Forgetten Dreams, Werner Herzog

Love those images, just a single image you see can plant so many questions in your mind in this documentary. Also love he looks at those walls and asks whether it is as we are looking into mirror, a mirror of our past? This as well is a very strong question. Learning about ancient cultures always feel like learning about magic. Also love that curves of the cave walls add to the art, a different way of looking at art and I just love that.