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Zeki Demirkubuz

Today, we're launching a new retrospective, Chasing Shadows: The Films of Zeki Demirkubuz, on view for one full year.

Zeki Demirkubuz (site) is "one of the utterly unclassifiable talents Turkish cinema has quietly produced to surprise, delight and challenge the world," wrote Fiachra Gibbons when she met him for a profile in the Guardian back in 2006. "Like his friend Nuri Bilge Ceylan, responsible for such masterpieces as the Cannes-winning Distant, he seems surprised that his serious films have struck such an international chord. Yet he is one of a select club of directors to have had two films competing at Cannes at the same time [Fate (2001) and Confession (2002)], and probably the only one who credits the generals who threw him into prison for turning him into a filmmaker."

That would have been in the early 80s, following the Turkish military's coup d'état. Demirkubuz was all of 17 and a Maoist when he was locked away in Istanbul. "Before I was arrested I only read political books. Prison introduced me to the classics," he told Gibbons. "Pain is everywhere, we must all face it. All my films are about it. Dostoyevsky wrote the same book again and again with different characters working their pain through different situations. I try to make the same film over and over again. Changing subject is just opportunism to me, something that is done for political or financial reasons."

In 2007, the Film Society of Lincoln Center screened the series Mental Minefields: The Dark Tales of Zeki Demirkubuz: "Together with Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Yesim Ustaoglu and a handful of others, Demirkubuz has been leading a revolution in Turkish cinema for the past decade.... His protagonists all have astonishingly rich, varied and at times frightening personal psychologies, yet one never feels that their inner worlds are completely divorced from the external circumstances of their lives — or even their experiences in reality."

This past September, the Toronto International Film Festival chose Istanbul as the focus of its City to City program and screened Demirkubuz's first feature, Block-C (1994). For Kate Lawrie Van de Ven, it "established the themes and aesthetics that his subsequent features would explore, but also heralded a new image of Istanbul — one concentrated upon high-rise apartment towers, new freeways and the featureless landscape of the modern middle class. As with all of Demirkubuz's work, and that of such kindred urban filmmakers as Wong Kar-wai and Atom Egoyan, Block-C focuses on characters troubled by compulsion, isolation and purposelessness."

Update, 12/26: Thanks to Ilker Cengiz for the following list of links to reviews:

 


Kader (Destiny)

Mental Minefields: The Dark Tales of Zeki Demirkubuz. Review by Senem Aytac, 2007.

Review by Film Society of Lincoln Center, 2007.

Review by Dan Fainaru, Screen Daily, 2007.

Strictly Film School, 2007.

 

Yazgi (Fate)

Dark, Existential Films Top Turkish Festival. Review by Damon Smith, Boston Globe, 2003.

Review by The Albert Camus Society of U.K., 2005

Un Certain Regard. Review by Derek Elley, Variety, 2002.

Young Turk Tempts Fate with Sombre Tale. Review by Dan Fainaru, Screen International, 2002.

Review by Dan Gleister, The Guardian, 2002.

Review by Ron Holloway, Kinema, 2002.

Zeki Demirkubuz Talks to Jamie Bell about His “Tales of Darkness”. Review by Jamie Bell, Sight and Sound, 2006.

Review by Robert A. Haller, Five Films by Zeki Demirkubuz, 2003.

Turkey Distraught. Review by Peter Keough, The Providence Phoenix, 2004.

56th Edinburgh International Film Festival. 2003.

Mental Minefields: The Dark Tales of Zeki Demirkubuz. Review by Ovul Durmusoglu, 2007

Bosphorus Straits. Review by Mark Holcomb, Village Voice, 2002

Cannes doubles up on Turkish helmer. Review by Andrea R. Vaucher, Variety, 2002

 

Itiraf (Confession)

Review by Ron Holloway, Kinema, 2002.

Mental Minefields: The Dark Tales of Zeki Demirkubuz. Review by Berke Gol, 2007.

Dark, Existential Films Top Turkish Festival. Review by Damon Smith, Boston Globe, 2003.

Review for 56th Edinburgh International Film Festival, 2003.

Review by Richard Peña, Film Society of Lincoln Center, 2007.

Zeki Demirkubuz dissects adultery. Review by Gerard Lefort, Un Certain Regard, 2002.

Review by Henry's Cat, IOFilm U.K., 2002.

"Fate" and "Confession": Turkey, in the wake of emotional alienation. Review by Jacques Mandelbaum, Le Monde 2002.

Turkey Distraught. Review by Peter Keough, The Providence Phoenix, 2004.

Confession: Tales About Darkness II. Review by Robert A. Haller, 2003.

Bleak, sparse tale reaps rich rewards. Review by Dan Fainaru, Screen International, 2002.

Review by Derek Elley, Variety, 2002.

Cannes doubles up on Turkish helmer. Review by Andrea R. Vaucher, Variety, 2002.

Strictly Film School, 2007.

 

Ucuncu Sayfa (Third Page)

Mental Minefields: The Dark Tales of Zeki Demirkubuz. Review by Ayca Ciftci, 2007.

Five Films by Zeki Demirkubuz. Review by Robert A. Haller, 2003.

Strictly Film School, 2007

 

Masumiyet (Innocence)

There should be a door. Review by Émile Breton. L’Humanité, 1999.

Review for Rotterdam Film Festival, 2010.

Mental Minefields: The Dark Tales of Zeki Demirkubuz. Review by Ovgu Gokce, 2007.

The Innocence of Cinema. Review by Yildirim Turker, 1997.

Five films by Zeki Demirkubuz. Review by Robert A. Haller, 2003.

Strictly Film School, 2007.

 

Bekleme Odasi (Waiting Room)

Life is Like a Waiting Room for Death. Review by Oscar Peyreu, FIPRESCI Valencia Film Festival, 2004.

Mental Minefields: The Dark Tales of Zeki Demirkubuz. Review by Firat Yucel, 2007.

Strictly Film School, 2007.

 

C Blok (Block C)

Mental Minefields: The Dark Tales of Zeki Demirkubuz. Review by Gozde Onaran, 2007.

Five Films by Zeki Demirkubuz. Review by Robert A. Haller, 2003.

Review by Film Society of Lincoln Center, 2007.

Strictly Film School, 2007.

 

 

Deleted
Destiny and Block C are my favorite ones.

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