The thin curtain of steam rising from the floor of a traditional Istanbul hamam (steam bath) provides an apt symbol for a film concerned with the permeable boundaries between nations, cultures and people. A Turkish director and longtime resident of Italy (frequently featured in our annual Open Roads: New Italian Cinema series), Ferzan Ozpetek burst on the international scene with Steam: The Turkish Bath. Francesco, a young Italian designer with a rocky marriage, discovers that an aunt whom he’d never met has left him property in Istanbul in her will. That property turns out to be a hamam, and although Francesco at first plans to sell it, the building, the city and a budding sexual attraction soon make him reconsider. Even in this, his debut feature, Ozpetek shows his consummate skill directing actors: he gets an especially impressive performance from Alessandro Gassman (son of Vittorio) as Francesco, who in small, delicate ways shows us all the changes through which his character is living. — The Film Society of Lincoln Center
Ferzan Özpetek (b. February 3, 1959, Turkey) is an Italian-Turkish film director and screenwriter, residing in Italy.
Ferzan Ozpetek was born in Istanbul in 1959. When he was a young student in 1976, he decided to move to Italy to study Cinema History at Sapienza University of Rome. He completed his education attending art history and costume design classes at the Navona Academy. He also attended director classes at the Silvio D’Amico National Academy of Dramatic Art.
After receiving stage experience with Julian Beck’s Living Theatre, he moved to the cinema landscape, by working as a director assistant to Massimo Troisi, Maurizio Ponzi, Ricky Tognazzi, Sergio Citti and Francesco Nuti. His first work has been as Troisi’s assistant director for Scusate il ritardo, followed by Ponzi’s Sono contento, where he has a small role performing as a “madonnaro”.
His directorial debut was with Hamam, an Italian, Spanish and Turkish co-production. The movie, released in May 1997… read more