Serif Gören & Yilmaz Güney – Yol AKA The Road (1982)



At a “half-open” detention facility and work camp on the island of Imrali, a group of hopeful, but resigned men ritualistically converge on the entrance of the main penitentiary ward: first, for the disbursement of weekly mail and subsequently, for the eagerly anticipated posting of the list of prisoners authorized for a one-week furlough. A soft-spoken, unassuming man named Yusuf (Tuncay Akça), dispirited by the scarcity of letters from home, seemingly finds his fortune changed when he finds his name among the privileged list of furloughed prisoners. Mehmet (Halil Ergün), a pensive and conflicted man faces his trip to Diyarbakir with great trepidation and anxiety, having found his marriage increasingly strained when his wife begins to question his role in her brother’s death during a bungled robbery.

A vibrant and self-assured young man, Mevlat (Hikmet Çelik), finds his romantic notions to reunite with his fiancée Meral (Sevda Aktolga) thwarted when her family dispatches chaperones in order to prevent the couple from being alone. An idealistic and apolitical man named Omer (Necmettin Çobanoglu) who daydreams of his idyllic life amid the lush, grazing open fields of his beloved village in south-eastern Turkey returns home to the chaotic sight of his town under siege by the military as they attempt to root out suspected insurgents in the closely knit community. Continue reading

Yilmaz Güney & Serif Goren – Endise (1974)

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Endise is the story of cotton workers in southern Turkey.

Yilmaz Guney was born in 1937 in a village near the southern city of Adana, Turkey. His father is a Zaza from Varto, Turkey and his mother is a Kurd from Siverek, Turkey. Güney studied law and economics at the universities in Ankara and Istanbul, but by the age of 21 he found himself actively involved in filmmaking. As Yeşilçam, the Turkish studio system, grew in strength, a handful of directors, including Atıf Yılmaz, began to use the cinema as a means of addressing the problems of the people. Only state-sanctioned melodramas, war films and play adaptations had previously played in Turkish theaters, but these new filmmakers began to fill the screens with more artistic, personal and relevant pictures of Turkish/Kurdish life. The most popular name to emerge from the Young Turkish Cinema was that of Yılmaz Güney. Güney was a gruff-looking young actor who earned the monicker “Çirkin Kral,” (“the Ugly King”). After apprenticing as a screenwriter for and assistant to Atıf Yılmaz, Güney soon began appearing in as many as 20 films a year and became Turkey’s most popular actor. Continue reading