Turkish Cinema History Aesthetics,politics

Murat Akser was our substitute teacher for today, he was here to talk to the class about Turkish Cinema History. Murat started off by explaining how it was a revolution which instigated the spread of cinema in Turkey. At the start of this cinematic revolution there was no culture in film as there was no sound, yes that’s right at the beginning of film making there was only a visual to what was happening on screen.  When watching a silent film the audience had to look closely to the characters body language or read text of the screen to figure out what the character is saying and or what is going on. In some instances a live band would be playing in the actual cinema to the moving images to introduce sound to an otherwise silent piece of film art, this creates emotional depth from the audience.  To make a silent film successful  in Turkey it must have common ground so that everyone no matter what part of turkey they are from could understand and want to go see the film- boosts ratings. In the early 20’s there was not much to do for relaxation and leisure time so the more people  who enjoyed/understood the film would pay to go see it and at that time the film may be broadcast and seen many times by the same people as the production on new films where slow.

Turkish cinema started to take off in 1928 with the introduction to sound in film. Cinema became more cultured with language (the audience could now hear the character speaking, they could hear the tone and accent of the character, they could distinguish where the character was from in Turkey) The use of National symbols, colours and visuals to remind the audience off the country. Turkish national pride and history was always the message to the audience .   The first films where usually taken from Turkish books/literature and historical events. For example  the 1914 destruction of a Russian monument in Istanbul is regarded as Turkeys first film. This documentary film was created by  the countries first Muslim film maker  Fuat Uzkinay.

What is Turkish Cinema?

  • National  Cinema- The message is National pride.
  • History-The message is to remember Turkeys great victories mainly, some losses but remember what the country has been through in history and be proud of your country.
  • Institutions.
  • Themes-storylines.
  • Genres.

In the early years from 1922-1940’s Mushsin Ertuğeul was the sole director that shot feature films for this period.

1922 saw the establishment of the one first film production company ‘s in the Republic of Turkey, Kemal Seden  founded kemal Films, there was also Ipek films.

As there was little money about film makers had to fund the production for films out of their own pocket. This proved to be a bad idea for some directors lost everything due to not making back the money they invested into making the film. Directors and film makers need to be sure the film is going to sell to ensure they do not go bankrupt.

1950’s- said to be the film makers era, film language is formed.

1960’s-Directors and movements, the Turkish national cinema movement.

1970’s- The introduction to colour on screen, TRT established and the addition of the porn craze.

1974= The first regular BBC broadcasts where shown.

1980’s- TV and video age people no longer want to go to the cinema as they can just stay at home and watch their TV at home.

1990’s- Death of Green Pine cinema.

1997-Birth of New Turkish Cinema.

2000- trends, transnationalism, internationalism. Festival cinema vs. Popular cinema.

Institutions (film production companies etc)

  • Green Pine/ yesilcam
  • Stars
  • Region system  ( certain areas of Turkey will be shown certain things)
  • Bond system (borrowing money to make a film)
  • Directors for hire.
  • Domesticated scripts (i.e. a story from another country is re-scripted to make it Turkish)
  • Working with genre.

Aesthetics/Principle Genres

  • Melodrama- city and women.
  • Historical/Adventure-Turks as civilised people
  • Science Fiction-morality vs. Technology
  • Parody- old is good, recycle.

New Turkish Cinema

  • Memory and Trauma.
  • Alienation.
  • City.
  • Nostalgia.
  • Childhood.
  • Festival Art Cinema.

Popular Cinema

  • Horror (Islamic)
  • Patriotic Films, Breath and valley of wolves.
  • Hobo Comedy-recep ivedik atayilmaz.
  • Youth Comedy-Crazy class
  • Melodrama- Cagan Irmak
  • Auterism- Sinan Cetin.
  • Ethnic- My Marlon and Brando Muro


  •  A Dry Summer -1964
  • Distant- 2002
  • Head On – 2004
  • Tides and Winds- 2006.

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