My favourite time of the year – Istanbul Film Festival time – is almost here! For two whole weeks, cinephiles can binge on more than 200 films from 62 countries, screened at nine cinemas, with the festival delivering yet another scintillating programme for its 34th year. Here’s a round-up of the films I’ll be watching.
Thirteen films compete in the International Golden Tulip Competition and although most hail – as usual – from Europe, there is greater diversity, countrywise, this year. One is even from Turkey and another is a Turkish/German production; the former is Murat Düzgünoğlu’s new film Why Can’t I Be Tarkovsky and the latter is Ben Hopkins’s Yearning, set in Istanbul and a metaphor for the destruction of parts of the city. Also of interest are Alex Ross Perry’s Listen Up Phillip, about a neurotic writer in New York, and Star, from the Russian-Armenian director Anna Melikyan, dubbed a ‘classic Cinderella romance set in a big city’. B-movie fans will appreciate Quentin Dupieux’s surrealist comedy, Reality, while literature buffs have the new film by the renowned Hong Kong director Ann Hui to look forward to. In The Golden Era (below), Hui tells the story of the progressive novelist Xiao Hong against the backdrop of China’s turbulent 1930s.
The festival starts on Saturday (April 4) and continues until Sunday, April 19. Click here to book hotels.
Main image shows a still from Quentin Dupieux ‘Reality’.