Ömer Kavur – Gizli yüz aka The Secret Face (1991)


Turkish filmmaker Ömer Kavur was born in Ankara, in 1944. After studying journalism and sociology at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, he went on to study film at the Conservatoire Indépendant du Cinéma Français. He returned to Turkey in 1971 and began making documentaries and commercials. In 1974, he made his first feature film, Yatik Emine. At fifty-two, having worked in film for twenty-four years, with his own production company (to avoid trouble with the censors) and with eleven feature films to his credit, Ömer Kavur is one of the principal figures of contemporary Turkish cinema. Though he is an atypical director, the kind that is difficult to classify, some may claim he is the loyal representative of the waves that have shaken Turkish cinema since the 80’s; his films are intimate, ideologically committed, socially relevant and hugely popular.

Orhan Pamuk (born on June 7, 1952 in Istanbul) generally known simply as Orhan Pamuk, is a Nobel Prize-winning Turkish novelist and professor of comparative literature at Columbia University. Pamuk is one of Turkey’s most prominent novelists, and his work has been translated into more than fifty languages. He is the recipient of numerous national and international literary awards. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on October 12, 2006, becoming the first Turkish person to receive a Nobel Prize.

A young photographer, who works in night clubs and tavernas, brings all the pictures he takes to a mysterious woman. Every morning, for years, she searches for a face in these sad pictures. Finally, a face draws her attention, that of a watchmaker who has strange dreams and visions. Shortly afterwards, the photographer realizes that she has left town, and so has the watchmaker. He begins to search for her fervently, travelling obsessively through forgotten towns and abandoned countrysides.

Direction: Ömer Kavur. / Screenplay: Orhan Pamuk. / Cinematography: Erdal Kahraman. / Editing: Mevlüt Koçak. / Sets: Husper Akyürek. / Music: Cahit Berkay. / Cast: Zuhal Olcay, Fikret Kuskan, Savas Yurttas, Sevda Ferdag. (Source)

A night club photographer, obsessed by a young woman who searches for a meaning in the sad faces he photographs every night, follows her through forgotten towns and abandoned places trying to give purpose to her mysterious search. Inspired by Kara Kitap (The Black Book), the internationally acclaimed novel by Orhan Pamuk who has written the script, influenced by Sufi philosophy, “Gizli Yüz” takes the viewer on a mystical journey where time becomes an important leitmotiv. At times, the audience is as lost as the protagonist in pursuing the unknown. But the film is viewed best when it is taken as it is, without searching for interpretations. The mysterious woman is played by the beautiful and talented {$Zühal Olcay}, who is confortable in this role. In addition to several national awards, {#Gizli Yüz} has won three awards at the Mediterranean Film Festival in Bastia (Corsica) and the Public Prize at the Fribourg Festival in Switzerland. (AllMovieGuide)

The Secret Face (aka Gizli Yüz) is probably the best film of the Turkish auteur Ömer Kavur, and without doubt, one of the best and the most unique films ever made in Turkey. It won about 20 prizes for the best film, director, scenario, actor, etc… branches in about 7 different festivals it was shown, which include (besides Turkish festivals, in which it took nearly all the important prizes) Montreal (in which it won the best film prize), Bastia and Fribourg film festivals. So, no matter what the average film audiences, whose minds are programmed only to watch trendy and cliche Hollywood movies or the (more) trendy films by Sinan Cetin and likes, say or write about this film, its quality is already confirmed by the respected European movie critics and the audiences who’re into the more “deeper” kind of moviemaking.

The Secret face combines the screenwriting talents of the highly respected Turkish author Orhan Pamuk and the unique (but at some points, perhaps Antonioni-inluenced) film making talents of the Turkish auteur director Ömer Kavur. It is loosely based on one of the short stories included in Pamuk’s literary obscure masterpiece “The Black Book”, and the main themes of that book is still present here, which are the search for the inner truth, alienation and the questioning for the meaning of time. The director takes his lead character, the photographer, from his cold and lonely city life (and perhaps the reality), to an inner journey to the provinces of barren lands of his heart, where he will seek for the woman he fells in love with, and therefore to a search for his inner essence, his true self. The atmosphere of this masterpiece takes its audience to a world out of time and space: Shots of leafless trees throughout the movie and the lead character’s voyage through dilapidated and maybe abandoned, forgotten places and buildings alienates its viewers from the reality they’re present in, and takes them to a journey to their inner selves as well, along with the photographer. Even the movie’s starting place, Istanbul looks different, perhaps wretched and colder. The Director uses his camera NOT to take the viewer to a touristic trip to anatolian villages, but to CREATE A WORLD, which looks hauntingly familiar but in a nearly dream-like sense of reality. So, calling this film’s pictures “touristic” (!) is nothing but a complete nonesense! If you are calling it this way then you don’t have THE SENSUAL POTENTIAL required to get into this movie, which the people who respected this film in everyway all over the world have!

Yes, the movie is obscure, and even surrealistic, but IT IS INTENDED TO BE already. This is a mystical movie and it is REQUIRED to be this way, it needs YOU to use your imagination, and tries to stimulate your subconscious, because it needs to take you to a journey into yourself! It of course doesn’t give any direct answers, because it wants you to have your own experience with the film. The photographer’s search is your search, too, so you must find your own answers, you don’t need the answers that the film’s makers would give you! So, if you are too lazy or unwilling to watch this kind of ART MOVIE, then simply DON’T watch this film and try one of the other trendy Hollywood movies which you don’t need to use your mind! In this movie, you are required not only to use your mind: You must have both the HEART and BRAIN. If you don’t have these two, or you want to watch an easy & trendy movie, then try Sinan Çetin’s “Propaganda” or “Komsersekspir”, which will give a total NOTHING to you but amuse you by their cast of famous singers, showmen, journalists, football players, famous whore-models and all the other irrevelant but famous people, and by making jokes that only kids can laugh. If you are into this, then watch these kind of things and don’t watch Ömer Kavur, and if you do, keep your mouth shut and don’t talk about his films because when you talk you’ll just get yourself into a pitiful position!

To summarize it, The Secret Face is a unique masterpiece and watch this movie if you are into original film making and the films of directors like Antonioni, Visconti, and even Tarkovsky (when all the film’s existentialist nature is considered). If it is an easy-watching-and-easy-forgetting type of movie you are looking for then try something else.

If you watch and like this movie, also try Ömer Kavur’s two other masterpieces `The Motherland Hotel (Anayurt Oteli)’ and `The Journey On The Hour Hand (Akrebin Yolculugu)’. If you look for some other quality Turkish films too, also try the ones by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Zeki Demirkubuz, Yavuz Turgul etc. (Comment from IMDb)

This movie captured from SinemaTürk (Turkish movie channel) and the quality is fair.



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