Tuzdan kaide

The Pillar of Salt
Burak Çevik
2018

21.02. 16:30 Eng. subtitles CineStar 8
22.02. 20:00 Eng. subtitles Colosseum 1
23.02. 22:00 Eng. subtitles CinemaxX 4
24.02. 16:15 Eng. subtitles Zoo Palast 2

70 min. Turkish.

A pregnant young woman who lives in a sort of cave is looking for her vanished sister, yet this plot summary hardly does justice to the charm, richness and radical nature of Burak Çevik’s first feature – all of which a result of the liberties he takes in creating an extravagant cinematic world to tell this story. The protagonist leaves her almost fairytale-like cave to set out across a river, taking up her sister’s trail. This trail leads her to a botanical garden, a bird shop, and a darkroom. The photo lab technician compares the effect of photographs to God turning Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt because she couldn’t resist the temptation of turning around to see Sodom be destroyed. Captured for eternity, transfixed for eternity – should we take it at face value when the protagonist tells the boatwoman that she is a part-time vampire? The dreamlike way in which the film digresses to show us a plant, a strip of negatives, or a table tennis match contributes considerably to the strange fascination it develops. Some things remain mysterious – which only makes us even more curious about what they might be referring to. (Anna Hoffmann)

Burak Çevik was born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1993. He completed studies in Film and Television at Istanbul Bilgi University in 2016. Tuzdan Kaide is his debut film.

The curse of God, cinema, and of time

TUZDAN KAIDE is a story of pursuit. A pregnant woman, frozen in time, searches in rather unfrequented places in Istanbul for her twin sister, with whom she lost contact long ago. It’s a film that evokes questions about dying, not being able to die, giving birth to a human being in the chaos of this world.
I believe cinema possesses its own reality. With this film, I desired to execute a film that brings its own unique world into being with the unique tools of cinema. Different women seeing the same dream, devils haunting humans, table tennis players in a damp basement... All these intend to take us to another unfamiliar world. Time is out of joint and spaces are out of the ordinary. All the world closes in on itself. This can only be represented through sound and vision. My pursuit was to bring a different world to light. Artistically and production-wise, this aspiration was the hardest part of the project.
The places traversed in the film are spaces that I accumulated and which made a strong impression on me. With the director of photography, we made a particular effort to make the sense of space strong. Moreover, usually dialogue in film is used to convey information. While writing the script, I wanted to overturn this. In the film, although every character speaks at length about either themselves or their occupation, they don’t engage in dialogue. Everybody talks with themselves. Playing with the principal elements of cinema such as space, dialogue and framing, I endeavoured to find a novel manner of narrative.
The main matter driving me to realise this film was the medium of film itself. When Henri Bergson talks about the cinematographic illusion, saying a second in cinema is composed of twenty-four frames and we perceive them as moving due to an illusion, he concluded cinema is evil. In a way, I tried to come to terms with myself about this as well through this film. In a similar way, the story of Lot recounts how God turns Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt when she looks back at Sodom. Then, I believe, the greatest curse of God is to freeze humans in time. Something photography and certainly cinema do. (Burak Çevik)

Production Burak Çevik, Arda Çiltepe, Semih Gülen, Cem Celai Bilge, Selman Nacar. Production company Fol Film (Istanbul, Turkey). Written and directed by Burak Çevik. Director of photography Burak Serin. Editing Burak Çevik. Music Ozan Tekin. Sound design Ozan Tekin. Sound Ömür Müldür. With Zinnure Türe, Dila Yumurtacı, Esme Madra, Banu Fotocan, Elit İşcan, Nihal Koldaş, Reyhan Özdilek, Ayşe Demirel, Nazan Kesal, Nalan Kuruçim.