You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Venice Horizon: Satire ‘The Announcement’ Focuses on Turkey’s Past

In the summer of 2016, Turkish helmer Mahmut Fazil Coskun was scouting locations for his latest film, a based-on-a-true-story satire about a coup attempt in 1963, when news broke of a failed plot against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

It was the sort of mordant coincidence that could have been pulled from “The Announcement,” Coskun’s third feature, which world premieres in Venice’s Horizons sidebar.

Playing out over the course of a single night in Istanbul, pic follows a group of disgruntled soldiers who seize a radio station in order to announce that their co-conspirators have toppled the government — a putsch that by dawn has fizzled out across the country.

While the same plotline in the hands of another helmer could’ve played out as a tense thriller or high-octane actioner, Coskun decided to make a different statement by showing the conspirators as they bungled through their minor parts in the country’s larger drama.

“What would happen if we don’t see any action?” he recalled asking himself. “I thought this could be a more interesting idea.”

The Announcement” was inspired by diaries Coskun began reading in 2014, describing the real-life events depicted in the movie. The attempt to seize the radio station was treated as little more than a footnote in his reading, but the director saw in that small-bore story a chance to show “the power of ordinary people” who, while ostensibly written into the margins of the history books, “are making the real history.”

In the wake of the failed coup of 2016 — which quickly led to a wide-ranging crackdown by Erdogan — Coskun was forced to put production on hold, realizing that the climate was too sensitive for a film that might have been perceived as a commentary on current events.

Two years later, it is not an easy time for filmmakers in Turkey. The government’s broad clampdown has cast a shadow over artistic freedom, while the weakening lira has sent production costs soaring. After President Donald Trump announced the U.S. was doubling tariffs against Turkey in mid-August, an already battered currency went into a tailspin.

As the standoff between the two countries intensifies, Coskun confessed that he didn’t understand how the dispute — ostensibly over Turkey’s imprisonment of an American pastor — had grown so heated. “My thought is, ‘Please don’t have this conflict, because it affects the Turkish lira too much,” he said. “Please stop fighting!”


More Film

  • Colin Firth

    Colin Firth's Fantasy-Drama 'The Secret Garden' Bought by STX

    STXFilms has acquired North American distribution rights to “The Secret Garden,” a movie adaptation of the beloved children’s novel that was in development at Global Road Entertainment for the past year. The film stars Oscar winner Colin Firth and Julie Walters. Marc Munden (“The Crimson Petal and the White”) directs from a script by Jack [...]

  • Frank Grillo Hell on the Border

    Frank Grillo Signs With CAA (EXCLUSIVE)

    “The Purge” star Frank Grillo has signed with CAA for representation, sources tell Variety. Grillo’s long list of credits includes “The Purge: Anarchy,” “The Purge: Election Year,” “Captain America: Winter Soldier,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Wheelman,” and “Warrior.” On the TV side, he was the star of the Audience drama series “Kingdom,” which also starred [...]

  • The Top 10 Portrayals of Record

    The Dirt on Rock's Great Enablers: 10 Memorable Screen Portrayals of Record Execs

    In the Netflix biopic “The Dirt,” Pete Davidson of “Saturday Night Live” fame portrays A&R exec Tom Zutaut, the man who signed Motley Crue to Elektra and Guns N’ Roses to Geffen, while veteran character actor David Costabile (“The Wire,” “Billions”) is manager Doc McGhee. They follow in a long and illustrious line of label [...]

  • Korea Box Office: "Money" Wins Debut

    Korea Box Office: 'Money' Defeats 'Captain Marvel'

    Korean crime drama “Money” debuted on top of the South Korean box office, preventing “Captain Marvel” from topping the chart for three consecutive weekends. It is the story of a young stockbroker who dreams of riches but becomes caught in a stock market scam. Opening on Wednesday, the Showbox release earned $12.0 million from 1.54 [...]

  • Us Movie

    'Us' Cements the Box Office Power of Jordan Peele

    Given the breakout success of “Get Out,” it’s no surprise audiences were salivating to see the next nightmare from the mind of writer-director Jordan Peele. “Get Out,” which landed a screenwriting Oscar for Peele, became one of the most profitable movies of 2017 (grossing $255 million globally on a $4.5 million budget) after the horror [...]

  • Box Office Film Placeholder

    China Box Office: Taiwan's 'More Than Blue' Wins Second Weekend

    Taiwanese melodrama, “More Than Blue” held strong at the Chinese box office, to secure a second week of success. The film is a Chinese-language remake of a Korean film from 2009, involving Singapore’s MM2 and the filmmaking arm of Fox Networks. With little in the way of strong, new competition, “blue” scored $27 million, according [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content