Turkish cinema has become a regular fixture on the international festival circuit these days, represented most recently by first time features, such as Ceylan Ozgun Ozcelik’s media censorship-themed “Inflame,” which bowed this year in Berlin, and Emre Yeksan’s dystopian drama “The Gulf” which launched from Venice.
Variety has profiled several other directors, writers and producers who signal that a new generation is emerging within Turkey’s vibrant, albeit turbulence-riddled, film scene.
Writer-director Erol Mintas made a major splash on the festival circuit with his first feature “Song of My Mother” which in 2014 played around the world and scored plenty of prizes, including best film and best actor nods in Sarajevo.
“Mother” is an understated meditation on love memory and the cultural identity of the Kurdish community in present-day Turkey.
“Crows,” which is being presented at the Antalya Film Forum’s Fiction Pitching Platform, appears to be a more ambitious project. It’s about the spiritual quest of Adem, a middle aged peasant man who suffers from poverty and infirmity and undergoes a transformation after he meets a wandering sage named Seyda.
“I value the perspective of Islamic mysticism for its emphasis on individual voyages as opposed to the general trend in Islam constantly boosting exclusive communities, or brotherhoods,” says Mintas.
“In my own voyage as a filmmaker, the masters who have produced powerful oeuvres inspired by Christian mysticism such as Dreyer, Bresson, Bergman and Tarkovsky have illuminated my way,” he notes. “I desire ‘The Crows’ to be a film that brings this cinematic tradition into contact with Islamic mysticism,” he adds.
Interestingly the plan is for “The Crows” to be mostly set on a motorcycle “which articulates the characters’ spiritual journey and quest.”