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David & Layla released
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5th London Kurdish
Film Festival

Kurdish films at 37. Rotterdam International Film Festival

KurdishCinema.com - 25 January 2008

Four Kurdish shorts films will
be shown at 37. Rotterdam
International Film Festival
which is taking place
between 23 January- 3
February 2008 in Netherlands.
Additionally two films from
Turkey which deals with the
life of Kurds in one way or
another will be screened
during the festival. These
films are Turkish directors; Huseyin Karabey's film "My Marlond and Brando" (originally titled as
'Gitmek') and Handan Ipekci's film "Hidden Faces".

Kurdish directors Zirek Mira's "Searching for God" (Gerandin le Duway Xuda), Mehdi Hesen's
"Water", Shaxawan Idrees's "We Have Gasoline" and Fethi Evari's "The White Page" will be
shown twice on 26th and 28th of January 2008 along with other films.

"Searching for God" (Gerandin le Duway Xuda)

A surrealist short film by a young filmmaker Zirek Mira from the Kurdish part of Iraq. Mira is a
graduate of sculpting at the Suliemani Fine Arts Institute in Kurdistan. He makes experimental
and symbolic short films.

His film "Searching for God" deals with the relatively safe Kurdish area of Iraq. There the film
makers are not only interested in the war. In the form of an abstract film about a dictator
addressing his people, Zîrek Mîra allows his imagination free rein and provides his view on the
current rulers in this part of the country.

"Water" (Aw)

The director of the film Mehdi Hesen is a theater
graduate from the Fine Arts Institute in Erbil and
currently works as director for Kurdistan satellite

"Water" consists of several short films in which
the young Iraqi-Kurdish film maker tackles
several taboos such as incest and rape in a
daring way.

An old beggar looks with just a little bit too much
interest at his attractive daughter as she is cooling off under a jet of water. When another man
also shows an interest in her, then things are sure to go wrong. Mehdi Hesen daringly
challenges several taboos such as incest and rape.

"We Have Gasoline" (Benzinman heye)

A young Kurdish film maker, Shaxawan Idrees,
provides a subtle commentary on today's energy
policy of the present Iraqi government.

Shaxawan Idrees started as a journalist working
with various Kurdish newspapers. "We Have
Gasoline" is his second short film.

In the film two boys are selling fuel by the
roadside. In the burning sun, a car stops right in
the middle between the two of them. Their fierce competition ends in a fight for the new
customer. A subtle commentary on the energy policy of the present government.

"The White Page" (Lapere spi)

Short film by a young film maker, Fethi Evari,
about the contrast between poor and rich in his

Fethi Evari is a theatre graduate from the Fine
Arts Institute in Duhok, Kurdistan. In addition to a
number of theatrical plays, he has directed some short films and one feature length.

In "The White Page" a rich, modern woman
strolls through the city and decides to have her
portrait drawn by an artist in the street. She lives
in a world of her own so much that she is not
aware of the poverty around her. With the aid of a little girl, the artist plants her feet back firmly on
the ground.

My Marlon and Brando (Gitmek) by Huseyin Karabey

A dramatic road movie based on a true
story about a young theatre actress
from Istanbul who wants to go to her
lover. The problem is that he is
Kurdish, is in northern Iraq and the
American invasion of Iraq makes
communication even more difficult.
With the original video letters.

Ayça is a Turkish actress and she lives
in Istanbul. On a film set in the West of
Turkey, she meets Hama Ali, a Kurdish
actor. The two fall in love while shooting a film. After the shoot, Ayça returns to Istanbul and
Hama has to go back to his home, Süleymaniye in northern Iraq . Ayça and Hama continue their
relationship on the telephone and via letters, while America prepares to attack Iraq. The post
often doesn't work and the phone lines in Iraq are usually cut off. From time to time, Ayça
receives a declaration of love from her lover on video. Ayça can no longer bear the distance
between them and decides to travel to northern Iraq. But getting into a country at war turns out to
be just as difficult as getting out.

The protagonists in the film are not actors who would quickly be cast for an average love story.
My Marlon and Brando is a real story with and about real people. Ayça and Hama Ali are actors
in their everyday lives, here they play themselves. In this way the film creates a tense balance
between documentary and fiction. The love letters and video letters in the film are real, but Ayça
is acting her own life. Result: a powerful and penetrating road movie in which a committed film
maker approaches the world through a personal story.

Screenings of "My Marlon and Brondo"

Cinema                                                             Date & Time

Doelen Jurriaanse Zaal                      Saturday - 26 Jan -22:15
Pathé 3                                                   Monday  - 28 Jan - 10:45
Cinerama 1                                           Tuesday - 29 Jan - 17:00
Pathé 3                                                   Friday - 1 Feb - 16:15

"Hidden Faces" (Sakli yüzler) by Handan Ipekci

A complex and intriguing drama from the Turkish director, Handan Ipekci, of "Hejar" (Buyuk
Adam Kucuk Ask). "Hidden Faces" is about honour and revenge killing which is very common in
Turkish Kurdistan.  The story is about a young woman, from a Kurdish city Urfa, who went into
hiding from her family talks about her life in a documentary. An uncle who sees the film in
Germany won't let it rest .

There have been a few Turkish feature films (and books) dealing with the subject of crimes
committed in order to ‘safeguard family honour’, the so-called honour killings, but few of them
have been successful. "Hidden Faces" by Handan Ipekçi, known for her socially critical films, is
one of the rare realistic dramas which, with respect for women, shows the true face of this

The structure of the film is complex and intriguing. The story begins in a German cinema where
a Turkish documentary Honor Killings - A Violation of Human Rights is showing. The audience
distainfully watches the confessions of the young woman Zurhe. She loved a local shepherd in
her village and had a child by him before he abandoned her. To restore the family’s honour,
Zurhe’s uncle, Ali, forces her 17-year-old brother Ismail to strangle the baby in front of her eyes.
Her father kills himself instead of killing his daughter. When an enlightened uncle from
Germany comes to take her with him, he too is killed by the family males. The bloodshed is
blamed on the underaged Ismail, who is only given a five-year sentence. All these facts are
revealed in flashbacks and the documentary film director plays the dangerous game of wanting
to find Zhurhe, who is now living under a different identity. Her uncle Ali sees the documentary
and is determined to finish the job he began several years earlier.

Screenings of "Hidden Faces":

Cinema                                              Date & Time

Schouwburg Grote Zaal          Tuesday - 29 Jan - 21:45
Pathé                                          3 Friday -  1 Feb - 10:30
Cinerama 5                               Saturday - 2 Feb  - 22:00

source: Rotterdam Fim Festival: www.filmfestivalrotterdam.com
Special thanks to
Beri Shalmashi for this news.