When it comes to Turkey and cultural incidents, there’s quite clearly something in the air at the moment. While its government have this week come under fire for banning Twitter, on fronts cinematic it’s a far more positive experience full stop. As we head in to film festival season distant rumblings suggest that Turkish Auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan may be on course for the prestigious Palme d’Or prize at Cannes with his upcoming Winter Sleep.
For a taste of the other side of Turkish cinema, the aspiring cinephile can head direct to the source, with First Choice accommodating any trek to Istanbul this Summer. The iKSV Film Festival, Istanbul’s premiere film festival brings with it a selection of the greatest classics of the country’s national cinema, as well as a couple of the biggest hits of the world cinema scene of 2013 to date. Wes Anderson’s delightful Grand Budapest Hotel receives it’s Turkish premiere at the festival, while Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac also screens. A multi-tiered competition sees the likes of Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank play, with the film introducing an audience far from Frank Sidebottom’s own Timperley to the curio that is the one time television personality/band leader/all-round British institution. Alternatively, the London Turkish Film Festival which runs from May 22nd thru June 1st bringing the best of Turkey’s national cinema to the UK. Across four venues, the ICA, the Odeon West End, the Rio Cinema and Kensington’s Cine Lumiere and over 11 days the LTFF serves as the perfect introduction to all things Turkey in the world of home cinema. Things get off to a start with Mahmut Fazil Coskun’s Yogzat Blues, which opens the festival on the evening of the 22nd, while a number of awards will be given out throughout the almost fortnight.
Which brings us back to the Palme d’Or, and this talk of the Nuri Bilge Ceylan being the first potential winner of the prestigious award. While such speculation is at once both difficult and ill-advised, one can’t help but hope that this groundswell of cultural activity in the land of the Anatolian steppe has been building to such a reward for one of the world’s most interesting filmmakers. Following up Once Upon A Time In Anatolia, one of the finest films of 2011 was never going to be easy for Ceylan, with its beautiful ‘scope photography (somehow shot digitally) and wonderful characterisation placing it firmly at the head of that year in cinema, but early buzz seems to suggest that he just might have done it. Competition for Ceylan may come in the shape of some of the greats though, with Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest, Inherent Vice half-expected by some to play Cannes, in-spite of a theatrical run nearer to Christmas (hey, it worked that way for the Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davies), while Jean-Luc Godard’s much anticipated 3D feature Adieu au langage is also in the running for a bow around that time. Perfectly in keeping with the glacial pace of some of Ceylan’s earlier work, all that there is for us to do is to hold tight and wait and see.