Boston Turkish Film and Music Festival6th ANNUAL BOSTON TURKISH FILM FESTIVAL SM
March 29 - May 13, 2007

 KILLING THE SHADOW  (Hacivat Karagoz Neden Olduruldu?)

U.S. Premiere









Friday, April 6    7:30pm    
Remis Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston


Directed by Ezel Akay 

Written by Levent Kazak & Ezel Akay

Cast: Beyazit Ozturk, Haluk Bilginer, Sebnem Donmez, Guven Kirac, Levent Kazak, Ayse Tolga, Aysen Gruda, Altay Ozbek, Ragip Savas

2005, 135 min.  35mm.
In Turkish with English subtitles

“A story about the tragedy and the danger of humor and the humorist - A comedy as grand as the Lands of Rome”

Humor is a universal way of resistance through the conflicts of life as well as the strongest treat against the masters of those conflicts who rule the pawns. 

This is a story of two legendary men, Karagoz and Hacivat, who lived and died by their sense of humor. 

Bursa, 1330. A an ancient, crowded Roman city at the border of Byzantium. Changed hands 4 years ago and the small Ottoman tribe is just being transformed as a local state, on the remains of the old Eastern Roman Empire.

The Mongols, The Golden Horde, are the real rulers of the Asia minor at the time and people, who are exhausted from the tax hungry Mongolian attacks, immigrate for a new life to this liberal city which is also a shelter for the ruling class from various states and governments. It’s the period when Christians, Jews, Muslims and their related heretical sects existed and squeezed between hordes of nomadic Mongols and a corrupted Eastern Roman Empire. The city is protected by an organization called “The sisters of Rome” and the market place is managed by a union of artisans called “The Brotherhood of Rome”. Both are multi-religious communities and educated by Sufis and other eastern mystics...

Our story takes place in an unrecorded period of time, the last 2 months in the lives of two legendary Turkish stand-up comedians, Karagoz & Hacivat? They lived and died during the first clashes of the decaying Eastern Roman Empire and the first Ottomans of the 14th century Anatolia. Their stories and characters are adapted for traditional shadow theatre of the later Ottoman Empire, in modern Turkey and all over the Middle-East, Greece, and western Asia. Their legend and the truth about their tragic deaths are twisted and distorted, although their stingy humor still lingers on. 

Karagoz & Hacivat are the main characters of the traditional shadow theatre, and are believed to be two real construction workers who lived during the 14th century Bursa, the first capital of the Ottoman Empire.

As the legend goes, after the the leader of the growing tribe of Ottomans, Orhan Bey, notices the talents of two construction workers, famous among their friends with their clever and unending jokes, he rewarded them. But they were executed when he learns that they were keeping their co-workers laughing at their jokes during work hours, and causing a delay in the construction of the mosque to be named after Orhan Bey.

In this version, the “duo” is executed by the order of the Empire builders, new rulers of the city, due to the dangerously provocative and political nature of their jokes. The decaying Byzantine-Christian cultural elite and other local and nomadic-Islamic newcomers welcome them as the new amusement. For a while, they are considered as a couple of court clowns by these elites. 

However, they cannot help making fun of all those elites, government officers and ecclesiastics at the various parties thrown by themselves. The more they run down and mock around, the closer they get into trouble. 

As the construction is delayed, they become more and more irritating for the population and occur to be the perfect scope for the former Seljuk Vizier, Pervane, a man for all seasons, an “Empire Builder”!. Trying to get himself a leading position in the newly established government, he convinces Sultan Orhan to sign their death warrant. Even the final desperate attempt of Karagoz’s newly found love, Ayse Hatun, the leader of The Sisters of Rome, cannot help... 

Finally, their success brings their ultimate end.

Festivals and Awards:
* Golden Cocoon Film Festival, Adana (2006): 
Best Art Director: Naz Erayda, Hakan Yarkin
Best Screenplay: Levent Kazak, Ezel Akay
Best Director: Ezel Akay 
* 17th Ankara International Film Festival (2006): 
Best Actor: Haluk Bilginer 
Best Art Director: Naz Erayda 
Best Music: Ender Akay 
* 11th Nurnberg Turkey/Germany Film Festival (2006)
  Director EZEL AKAY:

Ezel Akay was born in 1961. After graduating from Bosphorus University Engineering Faculty, he studied drama in the U.S. at Villanova University. 

Before entering the film production industry as the founding partner of IFR, he worked as copywriter, production assistant, director and actor in plays. Since the founding of IFR, he directed more than five hundred commercial films. In the year 1996, he produced his first feature "Somersault in a Coffin" with Dervis Zaim to great critical acclaim. The film garnered multiple awards at international festivals. This was followed by other award winning features including "Journey to the Sun" in 1999 and “Boats out of Watermelon Rinds” in 2004. He directed his first film, “Where’s Firuze” in 2003, which was followed by “Killing the Shadow” in 2005. 

Filmography as Director:
Killing the Shadow 2005
Where is Firuze 2004


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