Must-see films from TIFF’s Rebel Yell series

For a reprieve from summer blockbusters, TIFF Bell Lightbox presents a series of films that are far more thought-provoking. Rebel Yell: A New Generation of Turkish Women Filmmakers is a collection of features, documentaries and shorts that are directed by women in a culture that has long been dominated by men.

Save for one intrepid and prolific woman, Bilge Olgaç, who directed a few dozen films in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, cinematic Turkish history has been mostly dictated by men. Over the past 15 years though, female filmmakers have seized the opportunity to have their work seen and their voices heard.

With that, here are some good bets for the week-long series.

 

Present Tense

Opening up the series is a 2012 a fictional telling of an all-too real possibility. Mina (Sanem Öge, an award winner at the Istanbul Film Festival) flees her marriage and her family, desperately taking up a job as a fortune teller. Mina confronts her own problems as well as those of her clients in an eye-opening and beautiful film.
Aug. 22, 6:30 p.m.

 

Beginnings

A fascinating geopolitical documentary, Beginnings follows the 2012 Speaking to One Another project, which saw the coming together of youth from Armenia and Turkey. It is a forum for discussions and understanding, as the curious and concerned broach ideas of gender roles, privacy, free speech, genocide and of course history, among others. Intimately shot, the film is at its best when director Somnur Vardar simply lets the camera roll and allows his subjects to talk openly and honestly.
Aug. 24, 1 p.m.

 

On The Coast/The Moustache/Concrete Park

First up on this set of three short documentaries is On the Coast, which depicts the small seaside town of Erikli in summer. It’s followed by The Moustache, a look at the importance of moustaches in Turkish culture. The third film, Concrete Park, turns the camera on young men in Turkey to discuss the difference between reality and appearances.
August 27, 6:30 p.m.

 

The Play

This 2005 documentary by Pelin Esmer follows a group of nine women who reside in a mountain town. Together, they write and perform a play called The Outcry of Women! based on their life stories. The process and result is captured as the women barrel ahead with unbridled enthusiasm, and the men watch from afar, dubious and left out.
Aug. 29, 6:30 p.m.

Rebel Yell: A New Generation of Turkish Women Filmmakers, TIFF Bell Lightbox, Aug. 22-25

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