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31st Istanbul International Film Festival, 2012

Wuthering Heights
FIPRESCI Prize: "Wuthering Heights" (Andrea Arnold)

With over 200 films screened in a series of thematic sections including fiction and documentary, national premières or retrospectives, feel-good or politically engaged films from all over the world and for all kinds of audiences, the Istanbul Film Festival seems to have something to offer everyone. It's almost as if the famous 'Turkish hospitality' — which is at the heart of the festival's atmosphere — had to extend to cinema as well; the event directed by Azize Tan is also welcoming and encompassing on the screen.

Professionals can have productive discussions and encounters at the Meetings on the Bridge development workshops; children can discover cinema (this year featuring a Dutch program) and everyone can attend the Master Classes and Panels with talents such as Terence Davies or Corneliu Porumboiu.

For foreign audiences, one of the main interests is of course the possibility of seeing recent Turkish films: this year about 40 were screened in total, 12 of which were selected for the National Golden Tulip competition. The official jury's main prize (endowed with 150,000 €) matched the FIPRESCI jury's choice: Emin Alper's Beyond the Hill (Tepenin Ardı), which had already impressed at the Berlinale Forum with its amazing talent to play with genres and build up a very abstract tension to make a powerful comment on power and the fear of the other.

The International Competition gathered films already screened in major festivals and that had some relation to other forms of art in their subject or were literary adaptations. The official jury, chaired by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, gave the Golden Tulip to Julia Loktev's The Loneliest Planet, whereas the winner of the FIPRESCI Prize was Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights, which succeeded in transforming psychologically painful states of mind into a convincing and surprising visual aesthetic and also creating, through its original treatment of controversial issues, a postmodern adaptation of a 19th Century novel. (Pamela Biénzobas)

31st Istanbul International Film Festival (Turkey, March 31 — April 15, 2012, FIPRESCI Jury: Pamela Bienzóbas (Chile, president), Noura Borsali (Tunisia), Dieter Wieczorek (France/Germany), Nicole Santé (The Netherlands), Kerem Akca (Turkey), Erman Ata Uncu (Turkey). FIPRESCI Prizes. Local Section: Beyond the Hill (Tepenin Ardı) by Emin Alper, Turkey. Print Source: Bulut Film (Fecri Ebcioğlu Sok. No: 14 D: 4 34340 Levent Beşiktaş İstanbul Türkiye). Phone: +90 (212) 287 19 49. Fax: +90 (212) 287 70 68. E-mail:, Web: International Section: Wuthering Heights by Andrea Arnold, UK. Print Source: HanWay Films (24 Hanway Street, London W1T 1UH). Phone: +44 (0)20 7290 0750. Fax: +44 (0)20 7290 0751.


Hip-notic Outcry of a Jammed Social Class. In Andrea Arnold's adaptation of Emily Bronte's classic novel "Wuthering Heights", Kerem Akca construes that the formal and narrative rules are shifted to create a viable cinematic transportation from the 19th Century into the present. arrow.
World Actualities in a Narrow Look. There was a healthy plethora in the program of thematically varied documentary films from the early 1960's to the Arab Spring. Dieter Wieczorek looks at many of them to find that power, corruption and oppressions of people do not change so much over the years. arrow.
Dealing with the 'Other'. Erman Ata Uncu gives acclamation to Emin Alper's Beyond the Hill for avoiding the usual trappings of clichés and stereotypes that directors can easily fall into when representing the struggles of an outsider as protagonist. arrow.
Will-O'-the-Wisp. Joachim Trier's Oslo, August 31st enthralls with its images of empty streets, images of the past, voices recalling events, sensations, ideas, feelings... Pamela Biénzobas looks at an original film on rehabilitation as seen from the viewpoint of a drug addict called Anders. arrow.
Turkish Kurdish Films. Though still absent in Turkish cinemas, Kurdish films are growing in number, perhaps inspired by the peoples hope for independence. Nicole Sante looks at the search for identity in Kurdish society and cinema.arrow.



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Istanbul 2012

bullet. Index
bullet. Hip-notic Outcry
bullet. World Actualities
bullet. Dealing with the "Other"
bullet. Will-O'-the-Wisp
bullet. Turkish Kurdish Films