H a s r e t

( YEARNING )

A director is commissioned to make a documentary about Istanbul. He starts to film its everyday life... but soon becomes drawn to the darker side of the city... its past, its secrets, its ghosts. Gradually he succumbs to obsession.

Synopsis

A small film crew arrives in Istanbul. They have been commissioned to make a film about the city for a minor TV channel. They start work immediately, filming interviews with the first people they meet, and then heading out onto the streets to film the many, very varied districts and denizens of Istanbul: an eccentric historian who believes that there was a civilisation of cats before humanity, a Sufi dervish who has opened a café for lovers and mad people, an Armenian journalist, an Alevi communist, a religious zealot and a philosophical tealady…

One day in the cutting room, spooling through the footage, the director notices that some shapes and figures are there which he had not seen on the actual day of filming: - it seems that his camera has picked up the presence of ghosts. This idea fascinates the director, and soon begins to obsess him. He films deliberately in the more lonely, older neighbourhoods and at night in the hope of finding more ghosts. After a while, his crew abandons him to his obsession, and the director continues filming alone.

As the director passes through this journey from daylight to darkness, from the living city to the city of the past, many aspects of life in Istanbul are touched upon: the destruction and renovation of old neighbourhoods, immigrant workers, resistance to the government, the many diverse religions and communities living in the city, the peculiarly melancholy essence of Istanbul.

CATS

Cat1

Everywhere you go in Istanbul, you are being watched… by cats.
They are everywhere.

CATS

Cat1

After a while, you begin to suspect that the cats of Istanbul are not just normal cats.

CATS

Cat1

The cats of Istanbul, somehow, seem to embody the spirit of the city. Silent, mysterious, watching.

CATS

Cat1

Are they judging you? Are they – as one interviewee, Faruk Korkmaz, says in the film – not in fact animals, but minor deities?

CATS

Cat1

Is it true, as Mr. Korkmaz says, that, before humanity, there used to be a civilisation of cats? With its capital city, Istanbul?

CATS

Cat1

Was humanity always the ruler of this earth? And will humanity’s reign one day come to an end?

ART

Art 1

Istanbul has been an artistic centre for centuries.

ART

Art 2

In this scene, a young artist presents us her work: an interactive map of the world.

ART

Art 3

When “Istanbul” is mentioned on social media, a lamp lights up on the map in the location where it was posted: Berlin, London, a village in Italy… even somewhere in Siberia, central Australia.

ART

Art 4

This means, says the artist, that Istanbul is not just a physical city. It is not just made of bricks, asphalt, concrete…

ART

Art 5

The spirit of Istanbul exists everywhere in the minds of those who think of her.

ART

Art 6

Istanbul’s spirit, its ghost, wanders the entire surface of the world…

GHOSTS

Ghosts 1

Official figures state that the population of Istanbul is around 14 million

GHOSTS

Ghosts 2

But some say the figure is closer to 20 million.

GHOSTS

Ghosts 3

So who are these 6 million ghosts? These 6 million not recognised by the official figures?

GHOSTS

Ghosts 4

In the film, we are told about the “paperless”, the multitudes of people who live without official registration… Afghan and Syrian refugees fleeing from war. And economic migrants from the far East of Turkey, looking for work.>

GHOSTS

Ghosts 5

Fighting each other for day jobs in the construction sector.

GHOSTS

Ghosts 6

But which group is the greater? These living ghosts? Or, in this city that has lasted eight millennia, the ghosts of the Istanbul’s multitudinous dead?

RESISTANCE

Resistance

In recent years, Istanbul has become a battleground. The “Gezi Protests” that convulsed the city in 2013 were just one manifestation of a festering discontent.

RESISTANCE

Resistance 2

Large areas of the city are under threat from “renovation”: government-led building projects that seek to “develop” old neighbourhoods...

RESISTANCE

Resistance 3

The targeted areas are usually neighbourhoods where resistance to the government is strong.

RESISTANCE

Resistance 4

Or areas where old, entrenched communities live in ageing housing.

RESISTANCE

Resistance 5

The city seems to fight against change. It seems to protect its crumbling splendour.

RESISTANCE

Resistance 6

When provoked, this ancient city rises up in resistance.

NIGHT AND DAY

Night and Day

In the daytime, Istanbul is a bustling metropolis of commerce and tourism.

NIGHT AND DAY

Night and Day 2

But at night, in the older neighbourhoods, a different, more mysterious city emerges.

NIGHT AND DAY

Night and Day 3

When making a portrait of a city, should one focus on the daylight, on the facts and figures, on the issues and struggles that make the newspaper headlines?

NIGHT AND DAY

Night and Day 4

Or should one look in the shadows, into the darker corners, and search for the city’s dreams? Its twilight half-truths?

NIGHT AND DAY

Night and Day 5

Is a soul of a place in its outward, public face?

NIGHT AND DAY

Night and Day 6

Or in its hidden, secretive shadows?

INFINITE

Infinite

“Istanbul”, says Mr. Korkmaz, “that’s an infinite subject.”

INFINITE

Infinite 2

A city that has lived for millennia, which has been home to millions of souls, past and present, living and dead… how to describe it?

INFINITE

Infinite 3

How to encompass it, in a film?

INFINITE

Infinite 4

A place of this multivariety, of this grandeur and magnitude… can one ever fully understand it?

INFINITE

Infinite 5

Can one attempt to paint its portrait, without succumbing to its deep, ancient melancholy?

INFINITE

Infinite 6

Can one do this without, somehow, losing one’s orientation… losing one’s mind?

Credits

 

HASRET - YEARNING. Eine Produktion von BREDOK FILM PRODUCTION, GEIßENDÖRFER FILM & FERNSEHPRODUKTION in Koproduktion mit ZDF/ARTE
Mit Unterstützung von FILM- UND MEDIENSTIFTUNG NORD-RHEIN WESTFALEN, DEUTSCHER FILMFÖRDERFONDS und PIFFL MEDIEN im Verleih der PIFFL MEDIEN

Germany 2015, 82 minutes, 1: 1.85 Digital, Colour/Black and White

 

DIRECTOR: BEN HOPKINS
see www.benhopkins.eu

 

WRITERS: BEN HOPKINS & CEYLAN ÜNAL HOPKINS

Ben Hopkins Cylan Ünal Hopkins

 

PRODUCERS: HANS W. GEIßENDÖRFER
see www.gff-film.de

Hans W. Geissendorfer

 

MUSTAFA DOK
see www.bredok-filmproduction.com

Mustafa Dok

 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: JÖRG GRUBER
www.cargocollective.com/joerggruber

Jörg Gruber

 

EDITOR: LEVENT ÇELEBİ
www.levent-celebi.com

Levent Celebi

 

MUSIC: EFE AKMEN
www.efeakmen.com

Efe Akmen

 

ART DIRECTION: MAJA ZOGG
www.maja-zogg.de/

Maja Zogg

 

SOUND: BİLGE BİNGÜL

BİLGE BİNGÜL

 

Dates/News

 


SCREENING DATES GERMANY

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