Journey To The Sun

A fictional but frighteningly realistic account of two men whose lives are destroyed by anti-Kurdish violence in contemporary Turkey. Mehmet (Newrod Baz), a recent arrival to Istanbul from the western city of Tire, finds both a job with the water department and a pretty girlfriend, Arzu (Mizgin Kapazan). Though not Kurdish, Mehmet's dark complexion leads...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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A fictional but frighteningly realistic account of two men whose lives are destroyed by anti-Kurdish violence in contemporary Turkey. Mehmet (Newrod Baz), a recent arrival to Istanbul from the western city of Tire, finds both a job with the water department and a pretty girlfriend, Arzu (Mizgin Kapazan). Though not Kurdish, Mehmet's dark complexion leads many Turks to assume he is, a disadvantage in a country rife with anti-Kurdish sentiment. By contrast, Berzan (Nazmi Quiris), a Kurd from the Eastern village of Zorduch, is in a very different situation. He's been in Istanbul for two years, and came to Istanbul because of his father's murder. Berzan peddles cassette tapes from a street cart, dodges the police and is actively involved in the Kurdish rebel movement. Mehmet and Berzan are strangers until the night Mehmet helps Berzan escape a gang of Kurd-bashing soccer fans, and the two become friends. Mehmet isn't interested in getting involved in another man's cause, until the night he's falsely arrested, beaten and thrown in jail; the police, it seems, have mistaken him for a Kurdish rebel. Things worsen after he's released: Mehmet is fired from his job and his nervous roommates want him out of their cramped, one-room apartment; wherever he settles, he's dogged by blood-red Xs, sinister markers painted by unseen hands. Desperate, he turns to Berzan for help. This film is a perfect example of one in which limited resources and a small budget can actually be an advantage. Director Yesim Ustalglu uses 16mm film stock, natural lighting and, at key moments, weaves actual newsreel footage into the narrative, lending this gripping story a sense of breathless immediacy. Ustalglu's subtlety and unwillingness to spell out everything — the meaning of the red Xs, the fate of Berzan's village — may, however, confuse viewers unfamiliar with the specifics of Turkish politics and the plight of the Kurdish people. (In Turkish and Kurdish, with English subtitles.)

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A fictional but frighteningly realistic account of two men whose lives are destroyed by anti-Kurdish violence in contemporary Turkey. Mehmet (Newrod Baz), a recent arrival to Istanbul from the western city of Tire, finds both a job with the water departmen… (more)

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