This session will look at questions of cinema and minority in two different contexts: contemporary Turkey and its minorities, and Turkish-German documentary, labour and affect.

The Political Landscape of Contemporary Turkey as Pictured in Film

Dr. Ozlem Koksal, University of Westminster, 3-4.15 PM

This talk will look at Turkey’s current political landscape as pictured in film. More specifically, I will talk about the country’s toxic relation to its past and its minorities by focusing on number of recent films, including the recent documentary Meteors (2018) by Gurcan Keltek. By doing so, I aim to unpack some of the recurring themes and motifs we encounter when looking at similar films, but also explore the different ways of relating, to and representation of, truth. I’ll focus on two events that continue to cause political, social cultural problems in the country and source of pain and suffering for its minorities: the legacy of Armenian genocide and the country’s troublesome relation to its Kurdish population. The discussion will pay particular attention to space and the temporal politics of that space, as well as exploring blurred borders between documentary and fiction. In doing so, I will explore the ways in which these films preserve that which “never happened” in the mainstream.

Ozlem Koksal is Lecturer in Film in the School of Media, Arts and Design at the University of Westminster. She has researched and published widely on Turkish cinema including her monograph Aesthetics of Displacement: Turkey and its Minorities on Screen (2016) and the edited collection World Film Locations: Istanbul (2012).

Capturing Work and Labour in Turkish German Documentary

Dr Gozde Naiboglu, University of Leicester, 4.15-5.30PM

This talk will examine the ways in which documentary filmmakers including Aysun Bademsoy, Harun Farocki and Seyhan Derin have used different aesthetic strategies to map the affective afterlife of the Turkish labour migration to Germany. I will focus on the post-Unification period to address the changing conditions of living and labour under rapid neoliberalisation and to mark out the effects of these changes on the production of new affects and articulations in Turkish German documentary filmmaking. Critics and scholars have responded to such aesthetic strategies predominantly through representational frameworks of analysis, putting emphasis on tropes such as identity, gender, ethnicity, power structures, stereotypes and emotions. Arguing that such analyses rely on a model of selection and judgement, which ultimately aim to evaluate films according to how accurate and authentic their narratives are vis-à-vis the actual state of affairs, I instead propose a post-representational approach which aims to put emphasis on the production of new affects. Since Unification, work has had a superior agential power in Turkish German filmmaking—it has primacy as the agential factor that has led the characters to make the journey from Turkey to Germany in the first place, yet, it has also moved through generations and acted as an omnipresent affective power. Drawing on Steven Shaviro’s argument that labour, like affect, is as a power and potential of the human body and ‘expressions of its “vitality”, “sense of aliveness”, and “changeability”’, I argue that viewing how labour is captured, reduced and qualified can conjure up the political potential of affect in these films (2010: 5). 

Gozde Naiboglu is Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Leicester and is the author of Post-Unification Turkish German Cinema: Work, Globalisation and Politics beyond Representation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

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This event is free to attend but you must register in advance via Eventbrite.

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Presented by the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) in association with Film, Television and the Moving Image MA, University of Westminster.

Dr Michael N. Goddard, Series Convenor.