Ideology in Turkish Cinema: The Figure of the Migrant A film series with commented screenings curated by Ömer Alkın
Already in the 1960s and ‘70s in Turkey the distinctions between islamic-conservative, national and socialist positions were starkly divided. The films from the Yeşilçam film industry in particular make these political conflicts visible. What is remarkable about these films from the period is that migration to Western Europe often serves as a figurative motif to engage with political and ideological conflicts in Turkey: the migrant functions as a vehicle to peddle the ideological agenda of the films. Acting as representatives of the three contrarian positions, the films from Yücel Çakmaklı, Halit Refiğ and Yılmaz Güney play a significant part in German migration history, despite remaining largely unknown in Germany. At the same time, they enable an understanding of the present ideological makeup of the country: between Islam, nationalism and (left-wing) revolutionary drives.
Subtitled for the first time in English, the film series opens up access to a wider public to an important source of the cultural memory of migration.
Ömer Alkın is a media and cultural studies scholar and filmmaker. His research focus is German-Turkish and Turkish cinema as well as migration and film. His book German-Turkish Film Culture in the Context of Migration is the first anthology written in German on this theme for more than twenty years. His writings can be found in numerous books and newspapers. He lives in Cologne.