These new titles along with other holdings of the REEEC Multimedia Resource Library are intended to assist university faculty and K-12 teachers who are interested in incorporating cinematic and other multimedia materials into their courses and studies. The Center’s policy is to provide access to its collection free of charge to the following: University of Illinois faculty, graduate students, registered student organizations, K-12 instructors and university/college faculty across the United States. In general, first priority is given to University of Illinois faculty teaching Russian, East European, and Eurasian area studies courses. The collection is for educational purposes only. The Center does not lend films to individuals for private viewing.The Center does not lend materials outside the US.
These acquisitions were made possible with the generous support of Title VI National Resource Center Grants from the United States Department of Education.
Araf/Somewhere in Between. A film by Yeşim Ustaoğlu (2012, PAL, 124 min, color). See trailer on Youtube.
Course Relevance: rural economy, modernization, youth, gender, sexuality, social conditions, Turkey.
Official Synopsis: Araf – ‘Somewhere in Between’, relays the tale of two youngsters, Zehra and Olgun, who are stuck in kind of limbo in their lives. This life passes by in a service station where everything seems transient and vacuous, the only thing that keeps them going in their banal monotonous 24 hr work shifts is their naive youthful expectation of excitement and change on the horizon. When they are off they escape by watching the trashy daytime TV shows which tantalizingly promise an easy quick passage to a glamorous life. Read more…
Awards: Best Actress Award (Tokyo Film Festival), Black Pearl Award for Best Narrative Film (Abu Dhabi Film Festival).
Reviews: NYFF Review, Hollywoodreporter, The Match Factory.
Interviews with Yeşim Ustaoğlu: NYFF Press Conference – Richard Peña discusses with her the latest film as part of New York Film Festival’s Main Slate; discussing “Araf – Somewhere in Between” with Mike Fishman on Independent Film Now after it’s screening at the New York Film Festival, 2012.
Bliss/Mutluluk. A film by Abdullah Oguz adapted after Zülfü Livaneli’s 2002 novel by the same title (2007, PAL, 105 min., color). See trailer on Youtube.
Course relevance: gender, the body, patriarchy, religion, Turkey.
Synopsis by World Cinema: When a young woman named Meryem (Özgü Namal) is raped, her village custom requires that she be killed in order for the dishonour to be expunged from her family. A young man named Cemal (Murat Han), the son of the village leader, is given the task but at the last moment he has doubts. The pair go on the run, followed close behind by local thugs intent on killing the girl. Luckily enough, Cemal and Meryem meet up with a charismatic man named Irfan, an ex-university professor who is embarking on a sailing trip, and needs a crew. Seems Irfan is running away too–in his case from a dead marriage and an empty life. Together this unlikely trio set forth on a voyage that will change all of their lives. Read more…
Awards: Best Cinematography, Best Music, Jury’s Award (Ankara International Film Festival, 2008) Audience Award, Prize of the Young Film Makers (Nüremberg Film Festival, 2008), Audience Award (Miami Film Festival, 2008), Audience Award (Montpellier Mediterranean Film Festival, 2007), , Golden Orange (Anatalya Golden Orange Film Festival, 2007).
Reviews: New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle.
Fetih 1453/Conquest 1453. A film by Farouk Aksoy, 2012 (162 min., color). See trailer on Youtube.
Course relevance: Ottoman empire, nation, memory, popular culture, neo-Ottomanism, Turkey.
Synopsis: The film is opened in Medina during the time of the prophet Muhammad (627). Abu Ayyub al-Ansari tells other sahabas that Constantinople will be conquered by a blessed commander and army. Read the full synopsis on Wikipedia.
Reviews: New York Times, Washington Post, Filmadeus, Film Journal, The National, The Guardian, Daily Star, Today’s Zaman.
Article of interest: Sultan Erdogan: Turkey’s Rebranding into the New-Old Ottoman Empire
Vali/The Governor. A film by Çagatay Tosun (2009, PAL, 93 min., color). Trailer on IMDB.
Course relevance: politics, economy, corruption, government, Turkey.
Brief Synopsis: Faruk Yazici is the idealist governor of the Aegean city of Denizli, where a team of engineers from the Turkish Mining Exploration Institute (MTA) have recently discovered reserves of uranium. The governor joins forces with childhood friend and head of MTA engineers Omer Ucar, in a fight against the beautiful and scheming bureaucrat Ceyda Aydin, who actually works to get mines in Turkey under the control of foreign companies. Interestingly, a number of unexplained murders are uncovered only a short while after the governor and the MTA engineers focus on the reserves in Denizli.
Günesi Gördüm/I Saw the Sun. A film by Mahsun Kırmızıgül (2009, PAL, 120 min., color). See trailer.
Course relevance: forced migration, emigration, nation, minority, gender, sexuality, civil war, 1980s, Kurds, Turkey.
Official Synopsis: A film dedicated to peace and children… A mountain village perched on the border between two worlds… The home, for generations, of the Altun family… But with the introduction of forced migration policies, the family finds itself wrenched from the village. This is the story of their relocation from east to west. Haydar and Isa Altun arrive with their respective families in Istanbul, where they decide to stay. But Davut Altun, his wife and children set their sights further afield and travel on to Norway… Spanning a period of 25 years, the film recounts the experiences of the three families as they struggle to find their feet in alien surroundings. It is a film that condemns all of discrimination or otherization and argues that war,fighting and contempt for anyone unlike oneself are the very problem itself… The story that unfolds in the film is a story that belongs to us all, to this country, to Turkey…
Awards: Asian Film Award – Special Mention (2009, Tokyo Film Festival), Best Supporting Actor – Cemal Toktaş (3rd Yeşilçam Awards).
Yol/The Road. A film by Yılmaz Güney (1982, PAL, 114 min., color).
Course relevance: everyday life, 1980 military coup.
Synopsis: Yol tells the story of several Kurdish prisoners on furlough in Turkey. Seyit Ali (Tarık Akan) travels to his house and finds that his wife (Şerif Sezer) has betrayed him and works as a prostitute. She was caught by her family and held captive for Seyit Ali to end her life in an honor killing. Though apparently determined at first, he changes his mind when his wife starts to freeze while travelling in the snow. Despite his efforts to keep her alive, he eventually fails. His wife’s death relieves Seyit Ali from family pressure and he is saved from justice since she freezes but he has an internal struggle and must return to jail. Read more…
Awards: Palm D’Or (1982 Cannes Film Festival), NBR Award (1982, National Board of Review, USA), Critics’ Award (1983, French Syndicate of Cinema Critics), ALFS Award (1984, London Critics Circle).
Reviews: New York Times, Today’s Zaman.
Beş Vakit/Times and Winds. A film by Reha Erdem (2006, PAL, 112 min., color). See trailer.
Course relevance: youth, social conditions, Turkey.
Official Synopsis: A small, poor village leaning over high rocky mountains, facing the immense sea, flanked by olive yards. Villagers are simple and diligent people who struggle to cope with a harsh nature. They earn their living, on a daily survival basis, out of the earth and of a few animals they feed. Just like the animals and trees around them, they have the knowledge of their temporary existence, hence a sober resignation prevails. Read more…
Awards: Best Turkish Film (2006 Istanbul International Film Festival), Best Turkish Film, Best Supporting Actor, Best Promising Actor, Best Promising Actress (2006 Adana Golden Boll Film Festival), Golden Antigone Mention
Nova Award, Young People’s Award (2006 nt. Mediterranean Film Festival Montpellier), Special Mention for Photography (2007 Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival), Emile Guimet Award (2007 Vesoul International Asian Film Festival), Special Mention for Directing Young Jury’s Award (2007 Nurnberg Turkey / Germany Film Festival), CineBlackSea Best Director (2007 Bucharest Film Festival).
Reviews: The Guardian, ICS.
Issiz Adam/Alone. A Film by Çagan Irmak (2008, PAL, 113 min., color). See trailer.
Course relevance: gender, consumerism, post-modernity.
Synopsis: Alper is in his mid 30s and a good chef at his own restaurant. He loves luxury and spends his life with one-night stands and paid love. One day, his life changes utterly as he walks into a second-hand shop where he first encounters Ada who is in her late 20s and has a shop where she designs costumes for kids. She leads a modest life and one day while looking for a book, her and Alper’s paths cross. Alper is fascinated by Ada’s beauty and starts following her with the book she has been looking for. Read more…
Awards: Best Feature (2009) – Rhode Island International Film Festival.
Reviews: Wild Thyme.
Children Underground. A documentary by Edet Belzberg. (2001, 104 min., color). Trailer on Youtube.
Synopsis: In an effort to increase the Romania’s work force, former communist leader Nicolae Ceauşescu outlawed contraception and abortion in 1966. Thousands of unwanted children were placed in state orphanages where they faced terrible conditions. With the fall of Communism, many children moved onto the streets. Some were from the orphanages. Others were runways from impoverished families. Today there are 20,000 children living on the streets while the resources for sheltering these homeless youths are severely limited. Children Underground follows the story of five street children. Read more…
Course relevance: post-socialism, social conditions, Ceaușescu, pro-natalist policies, youth.
Awards: Special Jury Prize – 2000 Sundance Film Festival, Documentary Achievement Award – Gotham Awards, IDA Awards – International Documentary Association, Vaclav Havel Special Mention – Prague One World Film Festival, nominated for the Academy Award for Best documentary feature.
Reviews: New York Times, New York Magazine, Variety, Village Voice.
Interview with Edet Belzberg: Indiewire – Edet Belzberg’s Children Underground brings the lives of Romanian street children to light by Nick Poppy.
The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceaușescu. A documentary by Andrei Ujică (180 min., color, Romanian with English subtitles, 2010). See trailer.
Course relevance: national stalinism, personality cult, Romania, dictatorship, Cold War, Eastern Europe.
Official synopsis: During the summary trial that he and his wife were submitted to, Nicolae Ceausescu is reviewing his long reign in power: 1965-1989. It is an historical tableau that in its scope resembles American film frescos such as those dedicated to the Vietnam War. The three-hour long documentary covers 25 years in the life of Nicolae Ceaușescu and was made using 1,000 hours of original footage from the National Archives of Romania.
Awards: Best East European Documentary Award – International Documentary Film Festival (Czech Republic), Best Documentary, Best Editing, and Best Feature Film – Gopos Awards (Romania).
Reviews: The Washington Post, New York Review of Books, Vladimir Tismăneanu.
Interviews in The Filmmaker Magazine by Brandon Harris, Film Quarterly by Rob White, Cinespect by Ryan Wells.
Fateless. A film by Lajos Koltai adapted after the semi-autobiographical novel Fatelessness (1975) by the Nobel Prize-winner Imre Kertész. (140 min., color, Hungarian with English subtitles, 2005). See trailer. Official site in Hungarian.
Course relevance: Jews, Holocaust, World War II, Hungary, memory.
Synopsis: One young man’s devastating voyage through the Holocaust sets the stage for this powerful drama. Gyorgy “Gyurka” Koves (Marcell Nagy) is a 14-year-old Jewish boy living in Hungary when the Nazi pogroms begin sweeping through the country. Gyura’s father (Janos Ban) has his business taken away from him not long before he’s taken away to a concentration camp, and as he’s led away, Gyura agrees to his father’s request to look after his stepmother while he’s gone. Read more…
Awards: Ashland Independent Film Award, Gerald Hirschfeld A.S.C. Cinematography Award – Ashland Independent Film Festival, Golden Berlin Bear – Berlin Film Festival, Golden Frog – Camerimage, Gold Hugo – Chicago International Film Festival, Golden Swan – Coppenhagen International Film Festival,
Reviews: New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The Guardian.
Anna Karenina. A film by Joe Wright (2012, 129 min., color).
Course relevance: social change, 19th c. Russia, gender, family, class, Russian literature, Tolstoy adaptations.
Awards: Breakthrough Performer – Domhnall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander (2012 Hamptons International Film Festival)
Reviews: The New Yorker, The Observer, The Daily Mirror, Huffington Post.
New Socialist Game from Poland
Kolejka/Queue: The Board Game. Created by Karol Madaj (Warsaw: Institute of National Remembrance, 2011).
Course relevance: everyday socialism, shortage, economy, corruption, 1980s, Poland, Eastern Europe, post-communism, memory, K-16.
Description: The Queue is a board game that tells a story of everyday life in Poland at the tail-end of the communist era. At first glance, the task of the 2 to 5 players appears quite simple: they have to send out their family, which consists of 5 pawns, to various stores on the game board to buy all the items on their randomly drawn shopping list. The problem is, however, that the shelves in the five neighborhood shops are empty…
Kolejka in News and Reviews: Spiegel Online, Associated Press, BBC News.
Gameplay Runthrough (1 and 2) and Final Thoughts on Youtube. 3 copies available in the REEEC Multimedia Library.