2 Turkish movies at Sydney Film Festival

2 Turkish movies at Sydney Film Festival

2 highly acclaimed films from Turkey are featuring at the Sydney Film Festival this year.


A domineering father tries to control his three daughters in this fantasy-tinged feminist drama by leading Turkish filmmaker Emin Alper. In competition, Berlinale.

Emil Alper’s follow-up to Frenzy (Special Jury Prize, Venice) is an entrancing fairy-tale for adults set in a picturesque village situated between snowy peaks in Anatolia. The story’s background is the disappearing tradition of besleme, whereby country girls are sent to well-off city families to serve as both foster children and maids. Following unhappy placements, teenager Havva and older sisters Nurhan and Reyhan have returned to live with their widowed father, Sevket. The patriarch has plans for his children, but these are not the obedient daughters of an old-fashioned fairy-tale. Beautifully filmed and tinged with magic realism, Alper’s film glows with the power of female strength.


A rebellious, mute young woman fights back against religious and social conventions in her remote Turkish village, in this enthralling coming-of-age tale.

Ethnography and entertainment come together memorably in the third feature co-directed by Çağla Zencirci and Guillaume Giovanetti. The setting is Koskoy, a village in northern Turkey with distinct cultural traditions, superstitions and an astonishing whistling language that only its residents can understand. In this remarkable place lives Sibel (Damla Sönmez, superb) a rebellious outcast who is speechless but can still communicate in her highly unusual mother tongue. Sibel’s marginalised and loveless life takes a dramatic turn when she meets Ali, an idealistic soldier fleeing Turkey’s militaristic regime. What evolves is a deeply moving tale of desire, identity and female emancipation. Ecumenical Jury Award, FIPRESCI (Critics) Prize, Locarno.

More information is available at https://www.sff.org.au/program/browse/sibel

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