The history of a Kurdish family from 1979-2009, utilising a mix of documentary and fiction. Exquisite images and personal sound recordings (tapes sent to the father abroad) embellish this film about the repression of the Kurds, immigrant labour and language.
The Kurdish Memet (‘played’ by co-director Zeynel Dogan) lives with his pregnant wife in Diyarbakir, a town in eastern Turkey. Mehmet’s mother Basé (Asiye Dogan, who is also really Zeynel’s mother) lives alone in the parental home in Elbistan, an almost deserted village. Mehmet’s elder brother Hasan has fled the country after he had joined the guerrilla movement. Since then, he has not been in touch.
Their father Mustafa left for Saudi Arabia to earn money for his family. He had a fatal accident at work, and all that Mehmet has of his is one of the audio cassettes sent back and forth instead of letters (his parents couldn’t read or write). Now he is going to be a father himself, Mehmet asks his mother about the other cassettes. She stalls, not wanting to change the picture that Mehmet has of his father. Voice of My Father is a poetic meditation about identity and blood bonds, as well as a profound portrait of a country in transition, wrestling with its past. Just as in the previous film by Orhan Eskiköy, On the Way to School, language is crucially important. And like that film, Voice of My Father balances between fiction and documentary. – International Film Festival Rotterdam
Orhan ESKIKÖY (1980, Istanbul, Turkey) studied PR and Communication in Ankara. He began making films during his studies, and worked as cameraman and director’s assistant. He has been working with Zeynel Dogan for more than ten years. Together, they founded the production company Perisan Film, and made four short documentaries and a feature-length one: ON THE WAY TO SCHOOL (2009). The film was shown internationally at festivals and was a box-office succes in Turkey. His second feature VOICE OF MY FATHER premiered in Competition at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2012.
Zeynel DOGAN is an independent Kurdish filmmaker. He graduated in Journalism from Anadolu University in 2002. Together with Özgür Dogan and Orhan Eskiköy, he founded the initiative Perisan Film. He also coordinates the Diyarbakir Media Center, which trains local youth in contemporary video practice. His film VOICE OF MY FATHER premiered in Competition at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2012.
A roundup of reviews, impressions and more from this year’s edition.
Plus: José Luis Torres Leiva’s leader for the Hubert Bals Fund, Copia imperfecta an homage to Raúl Ruiz.
The best film I saw at the IFFR. Voice of My Father induced in me memories of my grandmother, of photos of relatives I have never meet, never known, of which only fragments remain. Photos, tapes, records… read review