'There are ghosts in these houses!': on New Turkish Cinema: Belonging, Identity and Memory
Focusing on Turkish cinema, with particular attention being paid to the films made after the 1990s, New Turkish Cinema: Belonging, Identity and Memory (2010) is a much needed book and an excellent resource for teaching and research in this field. Asuman Suner meticulously examines the development of Turkish cinema within the context of Turkish society’s transformation, whilst arguing that new wave Turkish cinema (popular and art films alike) constantly returns to the question of belonging, identity and memory, interrogating them from different social, political, and aesthetic perspectives. By problematizing the idea of ‘spectral home’, Suner argues that the new wave films return to the idea of home or homeland, and tell us stories of uncanny houses haunted by the ghosts of the past - houses associated with trauma, violence, and horror. In this article, I consider some of the key themes that the book examines, mainly those concerned with the representation and implications of the past, the child, the city and gender. With its six chapters on nostalgia films, new political films, Nuri Bilge Ceylan films, Zeki Demirkubuz films, Istanbul films, and absent women of Turkish cinema, as well as the afterword providing an overview of the concepts discussed throughout, the book considers historical, political and social contexts that inform the mode of production of films of new Turkish cinema.
Dr. Eylem Atakav is lecturer in Film and Television Studies at the University of East Anglia. She is currently working on a monograph entitled Women and Turkish Cinema: Gender Politics, Cultural Identity and Representation. She is the editor of Directory of World Cinema: Turkey (Intellect, forth coming in 2012). She is also a co-editor for the collection entitled Women and Contemporary World Cinema (forth coming in 2012) and an editor of the online film studies journal, Cinemascope.