Turkish Cinema

Distant, 2002

An impassive man, statically framed in nearly imperceptible long shot slowly, and laboredly, traverses an untreaded, snow-covered open field carrying a duffle bag until he emerges in near frontal medium shot on the other side of the clearing towards a deserted rural road. It is an unhurried, deliberative image that recalls the extended final sequence… read more »

Clouds of May, 1999

An impassive young man, Sadik (Sadik Incesu), bides his time smoking a cigarette before running up the street to greet the postman as he delivers the mail, then crosses the median to a neighborhood café to read the long-awaited results of his final examination over a cup of tea. A filmmaker named Muzzafer (Muzaffer Özdemir)… read more »

Destiny, 2006

My final screening in the retrospective is also coincidentally Zeki Demirkubuz’s latest feature, Destiny, a brooding and elegantly rendered film that takes on an even richer texture within the context of the creative evolution (and maturation) of his body of work. The story of Destiny proves to be an already familiar one: a shy, but… read more »

The Waiting Room, 2004

During the panel discussion on Turkish cinema, Zeki Demirkubuz cited Friedrich Nietzsche’s (paraphrased) statement that the more a person understands the world around him, the more isolated he becomes. This sentiment also seems to form the creative ideal for the fictional director, Ahmet (played by Demirkubuz himself) in The Waiting Room, the final installment of… read more »

The Confession, 2001

One of the highlights from the Zeki Demirkubuz retrospective for me was the discovery of The Confession, the second installment of his Tales of Darkness trilogy, a taut, minimalist, and deeply moving portrait of the dissolution of a marriage. A pair of mundane, quick greeting calls to the office for public works engineer, Harun (Taner… read more »

Fate, 2001

The first installment of Zeki Demirkubuz’s Tales of Darkness trilogy (which would subsequently include The Confession and The Waiting Room), Fate is perhaps his most fully realized adoption of themes inspired by his literary influences (and self-acknowledged personal favorite among his films to date), in this case, Albert Camus’s widely read, absurdist fiction, The Stranger…. read more »

The Third Page, 1999

Like Zeki Demirkubuz’s preceding film, Innocence, his equally elegant third feature, The Third Page also opens to a shot of the film’s central character, in his case, a struggling bit player named Isa (Ruhi Sari) being questioned in a private room as a broken door continues to prop open. At first, the parallel framing suggests… read more »

Innocence, 1997

Zeki Demirkubuz’s sophomore feature, Innocence represents a marked stylistic departure from the fragmentation and narrative asymmetry of Block-C and converges towards what would prove to be more quintessential recurring elements within his body of work: long takes, painstaking observation of temps mort, stationary camera framing, the inclusion of a hyper-extended dialogue “ellipses” (or in the… read more »

Block-C, 1994

In his essay on the film, critic Gözde Anaran insightfully notes that Zeki Demirkubuz had been an inmate of the Block-C penitentiary after the September 12, 1980 coup d’état. This sense of institutionalization also surfaces in the way Demirkubuz frames the middle class, high-rise residential apartment complex that provide the claustrophobic setting for his first… read more »

Yol, 1982

At a “half-open” detention facility and work camp on the island of Imrali, a group of hopeful, but resigned men ritualistically converge on the entrance of the main penitentiary ward: first, for the disbursement of weekly mail and subsequently, for the eagerly anticipated posting of the list of prisoners authorized for a one-week furlough. A… read more »