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March 2018, arsenal cinema

DAAD grant holder Pelin Esmer is our guest

11’E 10 KALA, 2009

The Turkish filmmaker Pelin Esmer (*1972) is currently the guest of the DAAD's Berlin artist-in-residence program. She has made five films, functioning as screenplay writer, producer and editor. Whether making documentaries or fiction films, she always explores the situation in Turkey today.

IŞE YARAR BIR ŞEY (Something Useful, Turkey/F/NL/G 2017, 20.3.) Two women meet on the train and start talking. Leyla is a lawyer and poet going to a class reunion. She decides to help the young nurse Canan on a difficult mission. When they sit opposite the crippled and weary Yavuz, the power of poetry and exchange performs a miracle. This is a film about art and life, with plenty of cross-fading and reflections, a crow, a story by Julio Cortázar and some cello music.

OYUN (The Play, Turkey 2005, 21.3.) Nine female farmers from an Anatolian village whose days are composed of hard work write a play based on their own lives and rehearse it with the local headmaster. It is the first time that they speak publicly about domestic violence and humiliation, which are routine parts of their daily existence. Roles and reality blur. Esmer’s documentary camera registers the changes that the women (and their husbands) undergo during the rehearsals with a precise gaze.

11’E 10 KALA (10 to 11, Turkey/F/G 2009, 21.3.) The elderly Mithat is a passionate collector. Newspapers, books and finds of all kinds pile up in his apartment. For his part, the janitor Ali, who is from the country, lives sparsely. These two very different lone wolves remain alone in the building after the decision is made to tear down the apartment block. Mithat fights to salvage his archive and Ali helps him to extend it by wandering through the city.  This feature film debut, which at times appears like a documentary, tells subtly of preservation and renewal, of past and future in Istanbul. (bik)