Saturday, July 02, 2011

Hudutlarin kanunu / Law of the Border (2011 restoration by World Cinema Foundation)

TR 1966. D: Ömer Lüfti Akad. SC: Ömer Lüfti Akad, Yilmaz Güney; DP: Ali Uğur; ED: Ali Ün; M: Nida Tüfekçi; Cast: Yilmaz Güney (Hidir), Pervin Par (Ayse, l’insegnante), Hikmet Olgun (Yusuf), Erol Tas¸ (Ali Cello), Tuncel Kurtiz (Bekir), Osman Alyanak (Dervis Aga), Aydemir Akbas (Abuzer), Atilla Ergün (Zeki, primo luogotenente); P: Dadaş. 35 mm. 74’. B&w. Turkish version with English [not as according to the catalogue, French] subtitles. [Electronic subtitles in Italian.] From: Dadas¸ Film. Restored [in 2011] by World Cinema Foundation at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory. Saturday 2 July 2011 at 17.00, Cinema Jolly (Bologna, Il Cinema Ritrovato). Presentano Fatih Akin, and an old Turkish actor who had worked with Yilmaz Güney, introduced by Gian Luca Farinelli.

Catalogue: "The restoration was made possible through the use a positive print provided by Nil Gurpinar, daughter of the film’s producer, and held by the Turkish Ministry of Culture. As this print is the only known copy to survive the Turkish Coup d’Etat in 1980 – all other film sources were seized and destroyed – the restoration required a considerable amount of both physical and digital repair. The surviving print was extremely dirty, scratched, filled with mid-frame splices and sadly missing several frames. Although the film was shot in black and white, it was also printed on color stock resulting in significant decay. Finally, the first reel was missing and a Betacam was used instead. The restoration work was carried out at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory and will produce a new 35 mm dupe negative. The World Cinema Foundation would like to specially thank Fatih Akin for recommending this title, and Ali Akdeniz and Nurhan Sekerci for facilitating the restoration process.""

"Turkish cinema in Sixties took place in a dream world. The movies of that era refused to look directly at Turkish society. Hudutlarin kanunu, on which Yilmaz Güney met director Ömer Lütfi Akad, is one of the movies that changed this state of affairs. Akad’s genuine creative vision influenced Güney’s style as an actor: one can easily see the difference in Güney’s acting before and after Hudutlarýn kanunu. Akad’s influence was a positive one...""

"Güney’s natural performance marked a change in Turkish Cinema. This was the beginning of what would later be called “New Cinema” in Turkey. With its powerful cinematography and its direct and realistic depiction of social problems, Hudutlarin kanunu is one of the early milestones of Turkish cinema. Given the manner of storytelling and the style of photography, one might almost say that Akad’s film is a Western.""

"Hudutlarin kanunu depicts vital problems in the society of South East Turkey. Lack of education, no agriculture, and unemployment compelled people to live by the “law of the border” (Hudutlarin kanunu) – in other words, smuggling. Hudutlarin kanunu underlines the importance of education, which is the crucial element of socio-economical progress in third world Countries. It also helps us to understand the reasons behind the ongoing, veiled war along Turkey’s South-East border. Forty five years ago, Ömer Lütfi Akad was alerting Turkish society of the likely consequences if preventive measures are not taken in time. He alerted us with a great and lasting film, Hudutlarin kanunu."" Fatih Akin

"Ömer Lütfi Akad's Hudutlarin kanunu comes as a revelation to first-time viewers – a work of great visual and dramatic force, of terrific purity and ferocity. It was made during the year that its star and coscreenwriter, Yilmaz Güney, made his own directing debut. And it’s not surprising for first time viewers to learn that this stunning collaboration marked a shift in Turkish cinema, and ushered in what became known as “the director generation.” Once again, the World Cinema Foundation’s advisory board member Fatih Akin has brought us a great and inspirational film." Kent Jones, WFC Executive Director

In his introduction Fatih Akin told about his project on Yilmaz Güney, the most important figure in the Turkish cinema.

There is a genre film approach in this movie which has a lot of action, gunplay, and chases. The border milieu and "the last outlaw" theme invite comparisons with the Western. Yilmaz Güney's performance as the last outlaw Hidir is convincing, and Pervin Par is memorable as "the first teacher" Ayse in the wild borderland. The border sergeant and Hidir are childhood friends, now on opposite sides of the law. They are also rivals for Ayse's attentions. Hidir loves his son Yusuf, who will get a chance of education thanks to Ayse. There are remarkable instances of mise-en-scène, interplay of sound and image, use of Turkish music, editing, and rhythm. Among the memorable sequences is the one in which Ayse smokes a cigarette through a holder, and we see Hidir going to sleep at night, while a woman's song is heard in the background.

The restoration is based on difficult sources, and one can be grateful that it has been possible to produce a print like this that is probably as good as it can get of this film maudit.

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