Boston Turkish Film and Music Festival5th ANNUAL BOSTON TURKISH FILM FESTIVAL SM
March 30 - April 28, 2006

ISTANBUL TALES ( Anlat Istanbul )

U.S. Premiere

Director Umit Unal Present

Cinderella (Kul Kedisi)


Little Red Riding Hood (Kirmizi Baslikli Kiz)
Screenplay by Umit Unal
PIED PIPER: Altan Erkekli, Ozgu Namal, Mehmet Gunsur, Erkan Can  SHOW WHITE: Azra Akin, Cetin Tekindor, Vahide Gordum, Nejat Isler, Hilal Aslan    
CINDERELLA: Yelda Reynaud, Sevket Coruh, Guven Kirac, Ismail Hacioglu, Selen Ucer, Hasibe Eren
SLEEPING BEAUTY: Nurgul Yesilcay, Selim Akgul, Erdem Akakce
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD: Idil Uner, Fikret Kuskan, Ahmet M. Taylan, Ece Hakim 
2005, 94 minutes
In Turkish with English subtitles  
Screening Date: Thursday, March 30 at 8 p.m. 

Pied Piper (Fareli Koyun Kavalcisi)


Festivals and Awards:
  • 17th Ankara International Film Festival (2006): Mahmut Tali Ongoren Special Prize,  Best Actress (Idil Uner)
  • Bangkok Film Festival, Special Jury Prize (2006)
  • Istanbul International Film Festival, National Competition, Best Film and Best Actress (Yelda Reynaud)  (2005)  
  • 11th Med Film Festival, Rome, Jury Prize of "Artistic Expression" (Original Idea) (2005)
Sleeping Beauty (Uyuyan Guzel)
Snow White (Pamuk Prenses)



"Deftly interweaving five contempo vignettes with fairy tale flavors, slick criss-crosser "Istanbul Tales" is both a compulsively watchable entertainment as well as an atmospheric love letter to one of the world's most beautiful cities. Long-gestated project by writer Umit Unal, who finally shared helming chores with four others ... Though the directors basically worked on individual stories, there's so much overlap between them -- on both dramatic and editing levels -- and the styles are so undifferentiated that the finished film looks like the work of a single helmer. Unal, who labored over the script for several years, says he finally invited others to share direction simply to give the movie a sustained sense of energy. ...

Aging clarinetist Hilmi (Altan Erkekli) has a much younger wife, Senay (Ozgu Namal), who has a lover, photo shop owner Rifki (Mehmet Gunsur). However, before its resolution, another tale starts, which runs like a backbone through the movie's fabric: the shooting in a restaurant of underworld king Ihsan (Cetin Tekindor) by an unseen assassin. The hit was planned by Ihsan's right-hand man, Ramazan (Nejat Isler), and power-hungry wife, Hurrem (Vahide Gordum), who now orders Ramazan to dispose of her stepdaughter, Idil (Azra Akin). This doesn't go as planned, and incidents en route set up refs that are clarified as the other yarns unspool. Also in the mix: love at first sight between a female transsexual, Banu (Yelda Reynaud), and a younger guy, Fiko (Ismail Hacioglu); Banu's friendship with Mimi (Guven Kirac), a sweet old transvestite; a Kurdish peasant from the provinces, Musa (Selim Akgul), who gets a job at the eatery where Ihsan will be shot, and meanwhile stumbles across a beautiful but loony princess, Saliha (former Miss Turkey, Nurgul Yesilcay). 

Criss-crossers set during a limited timeframe have been an established genre, especially in European cinema, for some time. But Unal's complex script, which continually surprises with its cleverness without sacrificing character development to plot mechanisms, makes the format shine anew. Casting is terrific at every level, with a bevy of local names, and the fairytale parallels are never pushed too hard. A final seg, centered on a German Turk, Melek (striking Idil Uner), and her mysterious young daughter (Ece Hakim), neatly wraps up the whole package. 

Tech credits are tip-top, and pacing has plenty of forward momentum without being rushed. Unal's previous feature, "9" (2002), Turkey's first DV-to-35mm feature, also featured an interlocking story structure, but "Tales" reps a big step into the commercial arena. 
Stories aren't individually credited to directors, and no title captions appear on screen. Film won the film award at the Istanbul fest's national competition, plus an actress prize for Reynaud for her perf as the transsexual. " -- Variety

About Director Umit Unal:

Director Ümit Ünal was born in 14th April 1965. He studied cinema in Dokuz Eylul University, School of Fine Arts between 1981 and 1985. He made three short films during his school years, which won various prizes in national short film competitions. His first screenplay, My Aunt (Teyzem), was made into film in 1986 and won the biggest prize in the Screenplay Competition of Milliyet Daily. His other screenplays are: My Dreams, My Love and You (Hayallerim, Aşkım ve Sen), Billioner (Milyarder), Devil My Friend (Arkadaşım Şeytan), Piano Piano Bacaksız, Berlin in Berlin, American (Amerikalı), Summer Rain (Yaz Yağmuru). Ümit Ünal also published 3 books: American Beauty (Amerikan Güzeli, 1993), Alphabet of Love (Aşkın Alfabesi, 1996), The Tail (Kuyruk, 2001). He has worked as a copy writer and a creative director in international advertising agencies since 1990. In 1997 he started directing TV commercials. Since 1999, he is a freelance director/writer. His first feature film as a director, 9 (2002), was screened at many international film festivals, including the Second Boston Turkish Film Festival. He lives in İstanbul and Hertfordshire, UK.
Selected Filmography:

Istanbul Tales (Anlat Istanbul, 2005)
9 (2002)


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