"Turkish Cinema: Identity, Distance and Belonging" is the first comprehensive study of the cinema of Turkey to be published in English. A recurring theme in the book is the Turkish quest for a modern identity in a world where borders, attitudes and people themselves are shifting and relocating. Turkey is a society striving to reconcile modern attitudes to morals with traditional values and centuries-old customs and its films reflect these contradictions.
Against this background Gonul Donmez-Colin evaluates contemporary Turkish filmmakers, as well as the films of those who have left and those who have been exiled from Turkey. Themes of internal and external migration, as well as the voices of the "denied identities" such as the Kurds are integral to the book. Gender and sexuality, taboo subjects that only the new generation of filmmakers dare to expose are also discussed – homosexuality, lesbianism, honour killings, and incest are some of the ground-breaking points of the author's account.
Written by a film scholar familiar with Turkish language and culture who has undertaken extensive research both in Turkey and its neighbouring countries, this is an indispensable reference for students of cinema and Middle Eastern studies, as well as the general reader interested in this dynamic, rich and thoroughly modern national cinema.
Gonul Donmez-Colin is a film scholar specializing in the cinemas of the Middle East and Central Asia. Among her recent books are "Women, Islam and Cinema" (Reaktion Books, 2004), "Cinemas of the Other: A Personal Journey with Filmmakers from the Middle East and Central Asia" (2006) and "The Cinema of North Africa and the Middle East" (ed.) (2007).
"'Turkish Cinema' is a serious and open-minded study, thoroughly documented and researched, illustrated with summaries of films that support its many contentions. To be sure, it is an essential tool for the study of Turkey’s cinema, but it is equally vital to an understanding of the ideologies that shaped it: why certain kinds of films were made and what led to their demise; how nation-building exercises are mirrored in cinema; how reigning ideologies and rhetoric give rise to new forms and how relationships between films and viewers build or undo new archaeology in the Seventh Art" – The Asian Age
"'Turkish Cinema' provides non-Turkish readers with a welcome introduction to a subject which hitherto has received scant critical attention" – Screen
"highly recommended for those working on any aspect of cultural identity and Turkey... the work is richly illustrated and contains a basic cinematographic register, which makes it an excellent introduction to the history of Turkish film... a major work" – Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
"an engrossing introduction to a national cinema that has received little English-language attention... what Donmez-Colin has successfully achieved is to present a cinema full of interest and surprises... it presents Turkish cinema as interesting in general while helpfully singling out specific films that seem like must-see items for any reasonable cinephile’s wish list" – Screening the Past
"This volume provides an in-depth yet accessibly written analysis of the various visual and conceptual themes that run through Turkish film from the early 20th century to the present. It specifically examines the ways in which Turkish cinema both reflects and attempts to create a modern national identity for Turkey" – Middle East Journal
"With interest in Turkish cinema so high, it is particularly apt that renowned film scholar Gonul Donmez-Colin has chosen to bring out her insightful and comprehensive review of Turkish cinema, from its 1896 beginnings in Istanbul as a European plaything to the critically acclaimed productions of recent years... I heartily recommend this book as scholarly, lucid and readable. It is profusely illustrated... Most importantly, its discussion of the underlying circumstances of each production will enhance the viewing experience" – Edinburgh Review
"this book is a great historical introduction to Turkish cinema and the reader will benefit from the journalistic ease of the language" – Turkish Book Review
"an invaluable resource for film scholars and cinephiles alike... its insightful and thorough examination of national and contemporary 'Turkish Cinema' makes an important contribution to the abundance of new work on transnational systems of cinema" – Media-Culture Journal
"A much needed book, Gonul Donmez-Colin’s 'Turkish Cinema' offers challenging and innovative perspectives on this rich national film tradition. Thoroughly researched, fluently written and always thought-provoking, 'Turkish Cinema' is an indispensable work for anyone interested in the complex and persistent role of film in defining identities" – Alberto Elena, Professor of Film History at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid