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Onat Kutlar Cinema is a Feast: A Season in Hakkari (Erden Kiral, Turkey, 1983, 110 min.)

Venue: Birkbeck 43 Gordon Square

Film Screening: A Season in Hakkari (Erden Kiral, Turkey, 1983, 110 min.)

A Season in Hakkari (1983) An urban Turkish teacher is transferred for political reasons to a backward Kurdish village in the mountains near the Iranian border. He is welcomed with distrust, but during that harsh year the mutual cultural misunderstandings fade away.

 (1983,C.I.C.A.E. Award - Honourable Mention Interfilm Award - Otto Dibelius Film Award Competition, Silver Berlin Bear Special Jury Prize Berlin Film Festival)

This event is part of:

Onat Kutlar: Cinema Is a Feast, 17-18 June 2022, Birkbeck Cinema

Full Schedule and details:

“Onat Kutlar: Cinema Is a Feast”, organised by Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image (BIMI), will be the first dedicated academic workshop exploring Onat Kutlar’s intellectual legacy in cinema at the intersection of literature and his life in times of major political and cultural turmoil. The event will combine screenings and discussion, with contributions from a range of experts on Turkish film and literature.

Films to be shown:

Yusuf and Kenan (Ömer Kavur, Turkey, 1979, 80 min.)

A Season in Hakkari (Erden Kiral, Turkey, 1983, 110 min.) 

In 1962, the young Turkish writer and poet Onat Kutlar (1936-1995) returned to Istanbul from Paris. He was already a young wonder in Turkey, who had won the Turkish Language Association Prize at the age of 24 for his, by now cult, short stories book Ishak considered to be one of the first examples of the magical realism genre. In Paris he had encountered the French Cinémathèque, and films made by the giants of filmmaking. Despite strong opposition from Yesilcam, the Turkish version of Hollywood, these encounters would lead to the foundation of Sinematek in Turkey (with friends and collaborators including Sakir Eczacibasi), and the creation of the film magazine Yeni Sinema, inspiring a whole generation of young filmmakers and film enthusiasts, and laying the stones towards the establishment of the International Istanbul Film Festival. 

“2 July 1962, Frankfurt. […] I am going back to my country […] to all the people I love. […]  My passion and dedication are so much more than just a (deeply) burning feeling now: more like a storm that goes over me. […] I have no idea what I will face in Turkey.  But I am full of ideas, strong and willing. This time, I know there won’t be anyone I can rely on but just me. I am fully confident that I can overcome every possible obstacle. I believe this is the only gift that the “West” gave me. An experience tightly connected to a life with full openness. […] Now I can say everything I want. And that is more than enough!” (Onat Kutlar, Diaries of Ash, 2020)

Next to his well-known literary work, Onat Kutlar wrote three screenplays for films that would go on to win major prizes in international film festivals (Berlin, San Sebastian, Mannheim, Antalya, among others).  Until Onat Kutlar’s untimely death in 1995, he was the major force in Turkish cultural and literary life. His legacy endures.

With contributions from: Yunus Aksoy (Birkbeck, University of London), Zuhre Aksoy (Bogazici University), Seray Genc (Yeni Film), Aslan Erdem (Sabanci University), Olcay Akyildiz (Bogazici University), Yuce Aydogan (Kadir Has University), Jak Salom (Bogazici University), Nuray Mustu (Istanbul Film Festival).

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