Top 10 new filmmakers selected by Azize Tan

Azize Tan, the director of the Istanbul International Film Festival, selects the promising young directors to watch
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Mithat Esmer as Mithat in 10 to 11 (2009), directed by Pelin Esmer

1 / 10 Mithat Esmer as Mithat in 10 to 11 (2009), directed by Pelin Esmer

Diego Catano as Juan in Lake Tahoe (2008), directed by Fernando Eimbcke

2 / 10 Diego Catano as Juan in Lake Tahoe (2008), directed by Fernando Eimbcke

Onur Saylak as Yusuf and Megi Kobaladze as Eka in Autumn (2008), directed by Ozcan Alper

3 / 10 Onur Saylak as Yusuf and Megi Kobaladze as Eka in Autumn (2008), directed by Ozcan Alper

Kate Dickie as Jackie in Red Road (2006), directed by Andrea Arnold

4 / 10 Kate Dickie as Jackie in Red Road (2006), directed by Andrea Arnold

Ayca Damagi as Ayca in Gitmek: My Marlon and Brando (2008), directed by Huseyin Karabey

5 / 10 Ayca Damagi as Ayca in Gitmek: My Marlon and Brando (2008), directed by Huseyin Karabey

The Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra in The Band's Visit (2007), directed by Eran Kolirin

6 / 10 The Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra in The Band's Visit (2007), directed by Eran Kolirin

Alfredo Castro as Raul in Tony Manero (2008), directed by Pablo Larrain

7 / 10 Alfredo Castro as Raul in Tony Manero (2008), directed by Pablo Larrain

Maria Onetto as Veronica in The Headless Woman (2008), directed by Lucrecia Martel

8 / 10 Maria Onetto as Veronica in The Headless Woman (2008), directed by Lucrecia Martel

Ulmut Ilker as Ulmut and Cemile Ilker as Cemile in Men on the Bridge (2009), directed by Asli Ozge

9 / 10 Ulmut Ilker as Ulmut and Cemile Ilker as Cemile in Men on the Bridge (2009), directed by Asli Ozge

Taner Birsel as Hasan and Harun Ozuag as Veysel in Summer Book (2008), directed by Seyfi Teoman

10 / 10 Taner Birsel as Hasan and Harun Ozuag as Veysel in Summer Book (2008), directed by Seyfi Teoman


As the Istanbul Film Festival approaches (2-17 April), Azize Tan, the festival director, gives her insight as to the most promising directors working today. Tan has selected a film that is representative of each director's technique and style. 

With the Istanbul Film Festival in its 30th year, and having produced talents such as Hal Hartley and Peter Greenaway, Tan explains that such festivals are important in "boosting the career of young talents. I believe that Take 100 also has a similar effect; it became a guide for many people in discovering young directors."

 

Director: Özcan Alper

Film: Autumn (2008)

Synopsis: Sentenced to jail as a university student, Yusuf (Onur Saylack) is released on health grounds ten years later and returns home to his sick and elderly mother. Yusuf meets Eka (Megi Kobaladze), a beautiful young Georgian prostitute. Neither the timing nor circumstances are right for these two people to be together. Love becomes a final desperate attempt to grasp life and elude loneliness. With the 1990’s as a backdrop, the film at once documents and criticizes a slice of recent history.

Azize Tan says: "Autumn captures the essence of a political story and transfers it onto a universal theme: the human condition under intense oppression. Alper recounts with a meditative cinematic narrative the trauma of a government’s non-transparency. And at the same time, he reminds us of the sacrifices made by those such as Yusuf, and softly states that their struggle must not be futile."

 

Director: Andrea Arnold

Film: Red Road (2006)

Synopsis: Jackie (Kate Dickie) works as a CCTV operator. Each day she watches over a small part of the world. One day a man appears on her monitor, a man she never wanted to see again, and one she thought she never would. Now she has no choice – she is compelled to confront him. 

Azize Tan says: "Arnold’s striking debut, Red Road, and her critically acclaimed second feature, Fish Tank, have made the director heir to the realist tradition in British cinema. Think Ken Loach without the technical exercises and Alan Clarke with a sense of hope. Bringing a fresh spin to Brit-grit realism, Arnold boldly offers humanistic and intimate dramas about ordinary people without being overly sentimental."

 

Director: Fernando Eimbcke

Film: Lake Tahoe (2008)

Synopsis: In an attempt to escape from a home where sorrow reigns, sixteen-year-old Juan (Diego Cataño) crashes the family car into a telephone pole on the outskirts of town. Scouring the streets searching for help, he meets Don Heber (Héctor Herrera), a paranoid mechanic who promises to fix the car as soon as Juan can find the necessary part. He encounters an eclectic mix of characters along his one-day journey, during which he will come to accept an event as natural and inexplicable as death. 

Azize Tan says: "Young Mexican director Fernando Eimbcke’s body of work is further evidence of the recent revival of Latin American cinema. Simple on the surface, rich in detail, and subtle in their comedic effects, his films successfully hit the minor key of adolescent yearning."

 

Director: Pelin Esmer

Film: 10 to 11 (2009)

Synopsis: For Mithat (Mithat Esmer), a passionate collector, Istanbul is as vast as his collections. For Ali (Nejat Isler), the concierge of his building, it doesn’t extend beyond a few blocks around the building. When it’s revealed that the old building will be torn down, Mithat’s struggle to save his collection begins. The building becomes the common ground for these two lonely men, whose relationship begins with the collaborative effort to keep their homes and then changes track as they involuntarily change each other’s fate. 

Azize Tan says: "How can the continuity of life, generations, and culture be sustained? Young Turkish director Pelin Esmer addresses this question in 10 to 11. A film about the clash of values and the decadent age we live in, 10 to 11 takes an intimate peek at the dynamics between two lonely people."

 

Director: Huseyin Karabey

Film: Gitmek: My Marlon and Brando (2008)

Synopsis: Ayça (Ayça Damgaci) is a Turkish actress who lives in Istanbul. On a film set in Western Turkey, she meets Kurdish actor Hama Ali (Hama Ali Khan) and they fall in love. Following the shoot, Ayça returns to Istanbul and Hama to Suleymaniye, in Northern Iraq. But Ayça can’t bear the distance between them and decides to go to him. However, getting into a country at war turns out to be just as difficult as getting out. 

Azize Tan says: "How far would you go for love? Turkish actress Ayça Damagaci left her flat in Istanbul for the Iraqi border when American bombs began falling on Baghdad in March 2003. The object of her affection, Kurdish actor Hama Ali Khan, was on the other side of the border. This real-life romance became the inspiration for the film. Regarded as one of Turkey’s most promising talents, Karabey has the ability to cinematically retell actual events with a poetic and emotional touch, while managing to stay true to his subjects."

 

Director: Eran Kolirin

Film: The Band’s Visit (2007)

Synopsis: The Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra, an eight-man band, arrives in Israel from Egypt to play at an Arab cultural center. However, no one picks them up from the airport, and the band ends up lost in a small desert town where they are forced to spend the night. A local restaurant owner and her friends take them in, challenging everyone’s ideas about Arab-Israeli relations. 

Azize Tan says: "Israeli filmmaker Eran Kolirin, in the role of writer-director, builds a bittersweet comedy on the back of an ongoing and relentless conflict with a tender heart, an absurd yet gentle sensibility and hardly a trace of overt politics. By way of his characters, from both sides of the conflict, and his graceful handling of the subject matter, Kolirin manages to temporarily trespass borders in the Middle East – no small feat for a young filmmaker."

 

Director: Pablo Larraín

Film: Tony Manero (2008)

Synopsis: In the midst of Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile, Raúl Peralta (Alfredo Castro), a man in his fifties, is obsessed with impersonating Tony Manero, John Travolta’s character from Saturday Night Fever (1977). His urge to reproduce his idol’s likeness, and his dream of being recognized as a showbiz star on national television, drive him to commit a series of crimes.

Azize Tan says: "Tony Manero has been met with wide critical acclaim. It won the top prize at the Turin Film Festival, as well as the FIPRESCI Prize and the Best Actor Award for Alfredo Castro. The film was also Chile’s submission to the 2009 Academy Awards for the Best Foreign Language Film category, cementing Larraín’s reputation as a director to watch."

 

Director: Lucrecia Martel

Film: The Headless Woman (2008)

Synopsis: A woman is driving on the highway. She becomes distracted and runs into something. On the days following, she fails to recognize the feelings that used to bond her to the things and people around her. One night she tells her husband that she may have killed someone on the highway. They go back to the road only to find a dead dog. Things return to normal and the bad moment seems to have passed, until the new of a gruesome discovery comes back to haunt her.

Azize Tan says: "The Headless Woman is a film about a woman who becomes a passive observer in her own life. The isolated framing of shots would have pleased Antonioni, and Hitchcock would have revered its formalism. Each new addition to Martel’s body of work will no doubt be an unequaled cinematic experience, and will continue to secure her position as one of the most important talents in contemporary world cinema."

 

Director: Asli Özge

Film: Men on the Bridge (2009)

Synopsis: Amongst the daily commuter mania, the lives and dreams of three young men working in the gridlock on Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge unknowingly intersect. Fikret (Fikret Portakal) sells roses illegally and strives for a regular job, Murat (Murat Tokgöz) is a lonely policeman who uses the internet to find dating opportunities, and Umut (Umut Ilker) is a taxi driver searching for a better apartment in order to satisfy his wife’s cravings. The men who were the inspiration for the story appear as themselves enabling a realistic glimpse of Turkish urban life. 

Azize Tan says: "Men on the Bridge is a fresh look at Turkish urban life that employs an unprecedented technical and narrative structure in Turkish cinema. Asli Özge is certainly a director to watch, whether she’s making documentaries or fiction films."

 

Director: Seyfi Teoman

Film: Summer Book (2008)

Synopsis: Mustafa (Osman Inan) is a hard-working and ambitious agricultural merchant who is cold towards his family. One day he has a brain hemorrhage on a business trip and falls into a coma. His wife, Güler (Ayten Tökün), is convinced her husband was having an affair. Mustafa’s brother, Hasan (Taner Birsel), who chose to live a life of solitude after divorce and has always been an outsider to his relatives, now finds himself involved with his brother’s family. Hasan is faced with the mystery of his brother’s mistress and the money he lost during his potentially fatal trip. 

Azize Tan says: "Although Summer Book is somewhat didactic, it achieves a great deal using no music and very little dialogue. Teoman defines "rural anxiety" as the order of the family, small town, country, and finally, the world, and in effect anticipates possible subjects for future films."


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