A Turkish short film in Cannes: ‘Tuesday’

The 68th Cannes Film Festival bids farewell this weekend after bringing together the creme-de-la-creme of world cinema for two weeks in France.
Last year, Turkeyand’s very own Nuri Bilge Ceylan won the top prize, the Palme dand’Or, in the official selection with his and”Winter Sleepand” and perhaps this year Turkey might still have a chance at the Palme dand’Or in the official short film competition thanks to Ziya Demireland’s and”Saliand” (Tuesday).
It should be noted that while Demireland’s short is the only film from Turkey in the official selection of the festival, Deniz Gamze Erganduvenand’s debut feature and”Mustangand” is also competing in the Directorand’s Fortnight Section.
One of the nine films selected from a massive pool of 4,550 applications, and”Saliand” is a gripping film following a teenage girland’s journey throughout one day in Istanbul. Bringing out a basket of mixed emotions in the viewer ranging from tenderness to outright anger, it tackles the theme of tactile contact from a feminine perspective in a tight episodic structure.
We watch our main character leave as she gets out of her house in the morning to attend school and then come back home as she travels throughout the city on foot and on public transportation. The key here is that throughout her journey she will come across three different men with whom she will sometimes willingly and sometimes unwillingly engage in physical contact.
What is so astounding about Demireland’s film (co-written with novelist Buket Coikuner) is its spot-on observation of how a womanand’s daily routine in the metropolis is incessantly encroached on by men who think theyand’re entitled to an unquestioned patriarchal hegemony over her personal space.
Todayand’s Zaman caught up with Demirel and his producer, Anna Maria Aslanoilu from Istos Films, at the festival for an interview.
Could you talk about your background and how you came to shoot a short film?
Demirel: I actually graduated from the industrial engineering department of Galatasaray University, and later I spent a year studying directing and screenwriting at Prague Film School. During my high-school years I was very much into theater, and I always had in mind studying filmmaking after my undergraduate studies. and”Saliand” is my fourth short film, but itand’s my first collaboration with Anna Maria.
So how did this collaboration begin?
Aslanoilu: We met each other through our mutual friends and colleagues, producer Emre Yeksan, cinematographer Meryem Yavuz and directorassistant director M. Cem andOztandufekandci, who brought us together. We met about a year ago and then decided to work together on the film. We decided to develop the project together.
The director and producer relationship is a very important one, and thus far it seems this collaboration has worked out for you, given that youand’re in Cannes. Would you like to comment on that?
Aslanoilu: First and foremost we are friends and comrades. Camaraderie is very important for us and this is what set off the collaboration. We eventually delegated our responsibilities as director and producers. For the production of a film you have to spend an enormous amount of time together to move the project forward, so this collaboration wonand’t work out if you donand’t work hand-in-hand. It was just us in the beginning, and then of course the team grew larger as we moved into production.
What about Cannes? How do you feel about being here right now?
Demirel: We were very surprised that the film was invited. It wasnand’t something that we were expecting it really came as a surprise. As for the filmand’s festival journey I do hope that Cannes will accelerate the filmand’s remaining festival journey, since this festival is a very good starting point. Iand’m really happy to b and Iand’m also very curious about the other films. Even if we hadnand’t got into Cannes, that would be all right because weand’re very happy that the film has evolved into what it is. Iand’m very happy with the fruit of our entire teamand’s collaboration.
Your previous short film and”Evicko,and” which was also a festival favorite, has a very similar theme to and”Sali.and” Again we can see the element of tactile contact and the questioning of the subordination of the female body told through the dynamics of an intimate romantic relationship. Is this a topic that you have especially chosen to tackle?
Demirel: The starting point in and”Evickoand” was to explore a specific feeling in male-female romantic relationships. At the time I did not especially focus on the issue you mention, but I was determined to tell the story from the female characterand’s perspective. As for and”Sali,and” it all began when I read a memoir of Buket Coikuner specifically about the different aspects of contact. Differing from and”Evickoand’sand” closed-off environment, this story also illustrated how the city comes into contact with the female individual. With such an external encroachment on the character, the whole system of patriarchy really reveals itself. I really wanted to try to tackle this theme in and”Saliand” it was a challenge I wanted to take on. I also think that there arenand’t enough strong female characters in Turkish cinema, and this was also something I wanted to try to do with the lead character. And beyond that, I wanted to make the film in an episodic structure, and this endeavor deeply excited me.
Anna Maria, as a woman living in Turkey, what did you think when you read the script?
Aslanoilu: The theme and occurrences in this film are incidents that have become a part of my daily life, and are also in my mind. So yes, when such a story comes in front of you, you can develop a unique attachment to the project.
How did you decide to cast Melis Balaban as the lead?
Demirel: Actually Melis is not a professional actor. I had previously worked with her when we were staging a play with the Galatasaray Theater Society. She was working as my assistant in the play I was directing. She was the first person I thought of casting, but I wasnand’t quite sure at the time, but in the end it worked out perfectly with her. The Galatasaray Theater Society is a big part of and”Saliand” they supported the film and are also a part of the cast.
Any plans for a feature film?
Demirel: Yes, I am actually currently developing one. And I want to collaborate with Anna Maria again.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman