"Dialogues in the Dark" examines cases of Turkish women murdered by their own relatives for supposedly dishonoring their families. Conversations between the helmer and her lenser interspersed throughout feel like padding to fill running time, but material speaks strongly enough to get pic's voice heard at further fests abroad.

Ploddingly assembled but focusing on a highly emotive and topical subject, femme helmer Melek Ulagay Taylan’s “Dialogues in the Dark” examines cases of Turkish women murdered by their own relatives for supposedly dishonoring their families. Eponymous conversations between the helmer and her Swedish lenser interspersed throughout feel like padding to fill running time out to feature length, but material speaks strongly enough to get pic’s voice heard at further fests abroad.

Docu is structured around stories of several women, such as Swedish-Kurdish Fadime Sahindal, shot by her father for choosing to live with a Swedish boyfriend instead of accepting an arranged marriage, a case that made headlines worldwide. Less notorious is story of Semse Allak, made pregnant by a man who raped her and then stoned to death, along with her rapist, by her own relatives. A faint glimmer of hope is provided by the explanation at the end that Turkish law has just recently been reformed to hand out stiffer sentences to those who commit such “honor crimes.” Titular dialogues seemed to be unfolding in the pitch black at projection caught due to problems with equipment or DVD transfer.

Dialogues in the Dark

Turkey

Production

An Ajans 21 production. (International sales: Ajans 21, Istanbul.) Produced, directed, written by Melek Ulagay Taylan.

Crew

Camera (color/B&W, DigiBeta) Ulla Lemberg, Fouad Elkoury; editor, Taylan; music, Togay Senalp. Reviewed at Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival (Stories to Tell), March 15, 2006. Turkish, English, Kurdish dialogue. Running time: 67 MIN.

With

Melek Ulagay Taylan, Ulla Lemberg.
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