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Sparkling new talents in Edinburgh

I Don't Want to Call It Home / Ululation
The Edinburgh International Film Festival introduces fresh talent and new voices during this year's festival, while reflecting the cultural diversity Edinburgh has to offer. 


"The movies are limp and glowing, and so are the guys who make them. There are shocking stories of talented people who are inactive for a year and lose all competence. ”So the British documentary's godfather John Grierson summoned 1947 in the summer as he settled on what he considered an English documentary film environment in crisis. Grierson, who himself was behind milestones like the silent film Drifters (1929), was at that time the mass communications director for UNESCO, which had been founded in November of the previous year. The jeremiad appeared in an essay entitled "A Time to Ask," published in the brochure for a sensational and groundbreaking eight-day event at Edinburgh's Playhouse Theater (which still stands). 31. August was to be launched under the banner "The First International Documentary Film Festival". Looking forward to 71 years in the future, to summer 2018, we find the same festival with "Northern Athens" as the host. After a number of changes in name and field of influence, the festival is now known as the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF). It might surprise readers to hear that this is in fact the oldest continuously held film festival in the world; it launched just a few days before the Venice Film Festival – the world's oldest, hosted for the first time in 1932 – was conducted again after the war broke out.

New voices and new talents

In many ways the Scots think ahead. Their history is characterized by ingenuity, with a number of contributions to civilization, such as the bicycle, the telephone, the television, the toaster, the water closet and the radar – and basketball. But they also have a marked sense of tradition, and the documentary has always been an important element of the EIFF program and its predecessors. Many innovative documentary works have staged their national first screenings and world premieres in Edinburgh, and countless Nestors in the field have been welcomed and toasted with a glass of rejuvenating single malt. 

EIFF's dedicated efforts to raise and support new voices have been made possible through the ongoing collaboration with the Scottish Documentary Institute (SDI), founded in 2004 at Edinburgh College of Art. Each year, a selection of new SDI talents have been featured at EIFF under the title "Brigding the Gap," and in 2018 seven works have been featured. Of the seven directors, five were women – a timely choice given the recent discussions, and further proof that the world has moved on since Grierson could easily refer to the "boys" in 1947.

While Erdogan's tyrannical tactics are catching on, we must take good care of the country's artists and filmmakers.

But progress has obviously not been the same worldwide. The arrow also does not point uniquely in one direction. Two of the best films in Bridging the Gap 2018 show just that, and they also testify to how multicultural the 21 is. Century Edinburgh is, almost unrecognizable, compared to the dull, unaffected, ethnically homogeneous and devoutly religious Scotland of 1947.

An anguished Turkish miniature

I Don't Want to Call It Home is a ten minute animated documentary by Léa Luiz de Oliveira and Nisan Yetkin. The former is Franco-Brazilian and began making documentaries when she studied at Sorbonne – and made a note of dedicated films on social issues and human rights in South America, Scandinavia and Korea. 

Yetkin, for its part, has moved back and forth between the UK and its home country of Turkey in recent years. The collaboration takes the form of a colorful, expanded postcard from Turkey written by a young woman (presumably largely based on Yetkin herself) who struggles between the longing to stay in her home country and a growing understanding that it may prove impossible because of the authoritarian the board of President Recap Tayyip Erdogan, who in the film is referred to as a "Muslim Democrat" who became an "Islamic nationalist".

The narrator uses art as a kind of "survival strategy" in the aftermath of the failed "coup" in the July 2016, which Erdogan used as a pretext to arrest tens of thousands of opponents and mobilize massive repression. "I can't give you any good reasons to stay here," says the protagonist's worried mother as the two seek refuge in their Western-style apartment and view an Istanbul that is stuck in an "endless cycle of destruction and reconstruction." 

The upsetting dilemmas that constantly intervene ("staying here is not enough") are dramatized with the help of simple animations in which humans are portrayed as birds. It is a simple but effective metaphor for man's longing for liberation and self-expression, and also for the temptations of flock life. 

I Don't Want To Call It Home is a touching and appealing postcard from a country that, as the film also notes, has been a constant source of bad news ever since Erdogan came to power in 2014. The film had its world premiere in Edinburgh 21. July, just three days before the elections in Turkey, strengthened and expanded Erdogan's political grip. While Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk has an international profile, it is especially Turkish film that can show the country's incredibly rich culture in the outside world, led by Cannes Gold Palm winner Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Winter Sleep, Uzak, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia and the 2018 movie The Wild Pear Tree). While Erdogan's tyrannical tactics are catching on, we must take good care of the country's artists and filmmakers, and new talents that Yetkin needs to be properly taken care of.

Scottish mother, Algerian father

Mens I Don't Want To Call It Home is a riotous miniature that captures the feeling of a lost tranquility in a period characterized by stormy emotions, Carina Haouchine's subtly insightful ululation – also only ten minutes long – considerably cheerful and lively. It is an autobiographical film that stylishly borrows from the aesthetics of the home video and depicts one of the many trips the director has made to his father's homeland: Haouchine is Scottish-born and based in Glasgow with a Scottish mother and a father from Algeria. 

ululation has a particularly sharp look where it depicts the role of women in a country where traditional Muslim family structures are still what binds society together. 

With his heartwarming sincerity, this movie might have been given the title I Do Want To Call It Home, since the director explores the similarities and differences between Scotland and Algeria from his own cross-cultural perspective. This diary-like film essay has a particularly sharp look where Haouchine portrays women's role in a country where traditional Muslim family structures are still what binds society together. Surrounded by laughter, singing, dancing and superb cuisine, Haouchine talks to cousins ​​and cousins ​​and the entire family about the expectations and opportunities women face. With warm irony, she notes how her father, who has lived in the UK for a long time, quickly finds his way back to old habits in a comfortable world where life, as she notes, "is a life for men." 

Compared to other countries in the region, Algeria is relatively "progressive" when it comes to women's rights and political representation. 2012 included 31 women – 2014 percent. This picture is drastically different from the time before Algeria became independent from France's colonial rule, when most of the country's women were illiterate, most of all due to a bloody unfair French education policy.

Haouchine's grandmother is one of those hardened after surviving this era, and her advice to the granddaughter is surprising and inspiring: "You have to live your own life," she says, giggling. Inspired by this, Haouchine is on the threshold of what promises to be a successful film career. "Relax and without glow" she is certainly not.

Neil Young
Neil Young
Young is a regular film critic for Modern Times Review.

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