Three years ago, in real-life, Hama Ali, a charismatic actor from Iraq famous locally for his performance as Iraq’s version of Superman, met Ayca on a film-set. He and Ayca, a fiery actress from Turkey, had a passionate love affair before returning to their respective homes. From his Kurdish village, Hama Ali sends Ayca video love letters which he has filmed on his handycam. She watches them from her sofa in Istanbul, with her cat for company. The video love letters capture the hellish violence engulfing Iraq, the goats and uncles populating his rural area, and also his tender affection towards her. Feeling suffocated by her own city and angered by the indifference towards the war that surrounds her, Ayca decides to make the journey eastwards to Iraq to be reunited with her lover. GITMEK, a dramatic feature film, is based on the true story of Ayca’s departure from Istanbul and her extraordinary journey to the Iraqi border. At a time when many people were fleeing from East to West in search of safety, Ayca makes the opposite journey, in search of love. She is helped by immigrant artists who live in the slums of Istanbul and the mothers of long distance truck drivers who she meets at various border towns. The journey takes her through breathtaking landscapes, strange encounters and terrifying times. —Turkish Film Channel
Director, writer, and producer Huseyin Karabey was born in 1970 to a Kurdish family and studied at Uludağ University and Marmara University. After making over a half dozen documentary films from the 1990s through the 2000s, he made his first feature, My Marlon and Brando (2008). The film premiered at Rotterdam, won the prize for Best New Narrative Filmmaker at Tribeca, and earned him praise as a director to watch.
Lackluster, amateurish production based on the real life relationship between a young Turkish actress and an older Kurdish 'B' movie actor who is trapped in Iraq as the war breaks out. Hard to fault someone playing themselves but one has a hard time feeling any empathy for this young woman who places her own vision of acceptance before all else including the effects of war. One wonders how earnest his love was.
A love story between a Turkish woman and an Iraqi Kurdish man just at the beginning of United State's invading Iran, but also a national allegory (as Frederic Jameson suggests). The political atmosphere in Turkey against American attack to Iraq can also be seen in the background. In addition, a relation between two people, who cannot understand each other's language (although they are coming from two cultures which have been geographically and culturally neighbors for hundreds of years) and communicate in a third one (The language of the occupier: English), somewhat symbolizes the relation between the cultures in the region. A quasi-documentary based on a true story. One last note: The film was censored in Culturescapes Film Festival (Sweeden) because of the thread of Turkish Ministry of Culture to withdraw their financial support for the festival...
Turkish documentary filmaker Huseyin Karabey teams up with actress and screenwriter Ayca Damgaci to tell this deeply personal love story set against the backdrop of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq that… read review