Turkish Cinema: Identity, Distance and Belonging

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Films often act as a prism that refracts the issues facing a nation, and Turkish cinema in particular serves to encapsulate the cultural and social turmoil of modern-day Turkey. Acclaimed film scholar Gönül Dönmez-Colin examines here the way that national cinema reveals the Turkish quest for a modern identity.
Marked by continually shifting ethnic demographics, politics, and geographic borders, Turkish society struggles to reconcile modern attitudes with traditional morals and centuries-old customs. Dönmez-Colin examines how contemporary Turkish filmmakers address this struggle in their cinematic works, positing that their films revolve around ideas of migration and exile, and give voice to previously subsumed “denied identities” such as that of the Kurds. Turkish Cinema also crucially examines how these films confront taboo subjects such as homosexuality, incest, and honor killings, issues that have only become viable subjects of discussion in the new generation of Turkish citizens.
A deftly written and thought-provoking study, Turkish Cinema will be invaluable for scholars of Middle East studies and cinephiles alike.

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Editorial Reviews

Alberto Elena
"A much needed book, Gönül Dönmez-Colin’s Turkish Cinema offers challenging and innovative perspectives on this rich national film tradition. Thoroughly researched, fluently written and always thought-provoking, Turkish Cinema is an indispensable work for anyone interested in the complex and persistent role of film in defining identities."–Alberto Elena, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Edinburgh Review
"With interest in Turkish cinema so high, it is particularly apt that renowned film scholar Gönül Dönmez-Colin has chosen to bring out her insightful and comprehensive review of Turkish cinema . . . I heartily recommend this book as scholarly, lucid and readable. It is profusely illustrated . . . its discussion of the underlying circumstances of each production will enhance the viewing experience."
"Turkish Cinema provides non-Turkish readers with a welcome introduction to a subject which hitherto has received scant critical attention." –Screen
Middle East Journal
"This volume provides an in-depth yet accessibly written analysis of the various visual and conceptual themes that run through Turkish film from the early 20th century to the present. It specifically examines the ways in which Turkish cinema both reflects and attempts to create a modern national identity for Turkey."–Middle East Journal
Cinema Scope - Olaf Moller
"The importance of Turkish Cinema: Identity, Distance and Belonging lies in just that: Donmez-Colin lays out convincingly how today's Turkish cinema is connected to its past. . . . In a film-cultural climate where these kinds of developments seem to count less and less, this is an important argument to insist on."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781861893703
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 10/15/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Gönül Dönmez-Colin is a film scholar specializing in the cinemas of Central Asia and the Middle East. She is the author of Women, Islam and Cinema, Cinemas of the Other: A Personal Journey with Filmmakers from the Middle East and Central Asia, and The Cinema of North Africa and the Middle East.

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Table of Contents

1   In Search of Identity
2   Migration, Dis/Misplacement and Exile
3   Denied Identities
4   Yilmaz Güney
5   Gender, Sexuality and Morals in Transition
6   A Modern Identity or Identity in a Modern World
Film credits

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