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Oct. 24 (Mon) Winds of Asia Middle-East Our Grand Despair Q & A with Director Seyfi Teoman

Q & A of Our Grand Despair with Director Seyfi Teoman took place at TOHO Cinemas Screen 6 on Oct. 24 (Mon) with Programming Director of Winds of Asia Middle-East, Kenji Ishizaka, as a host.


© TIFF2011



The film is about a peaceful life of middle aged longtime time bachelor friends whose lives are disrupted when a girl moves in to the house that they are sharing.


For Director Teoman, this would be his second visit since 2008, when his film, Sumer Book was screened at TIFF. He greeted the audience and mentioned worriedly about the earth quake that happened in Turkey on October 23rd and offered his words of encouragement to the earth quake stricken people of Japan.



Q: I thought there was no other film that depicted the sensitive relationship between the two middle aged bachelors better than this film. The set up of the characters were unusual but so very wonderful.


Director Seyfi Teoman : The character setting may seem peculiar but is not so unusual. There are lots of men that share the rooms together as students or just to share the cost of living in Turkey.  But in this situation, the bachelors want to stay young like childhood friends which makes things different. The film is the adaptation of a novel and when I picked up the book, I thought that it exploited the relationship that was somewhat familiar but also was very interesting.



Q: There’s been increasing numbers of Turkish films entering the International Film Festivals lately. I believe that the talent has always been there, but why now? Was there a change in the Turkish Film Industry or is it easier to raise money and produce films nowadays?


Seyfi Teoman: Actually Turkey had great cinema tradition during the 60’s and the 70’s. There were times when 300 films were produced in a year,  shooting numerous selections of melodramas. But the crisis almost destroyed the Turkish film industry in the 90’s.  Luckily the group of pioneer directors like Nuri Bilge Ceylan started creating films in a very encouraging way using their own resources. They were very stubborn and ambitious film makers which set up the solid foundations for younger directors like myself to make films and flourish internationally.

Also the legislation for the film making has changed in 2005. We now have the support from the public funding. The funds are not much in amount, but it still encourages the directors to write the film script to receive the funds. And even if they are not funded, they will still find a way to make it somehow with the script they wrote. This allowed the film makers to make more independent and art films in Turkey.


© TIFF2011



Q: In the end of the film, you had two bachelors lay two coins on the railway track to flatten it as the train passed by. And then the two men hugs each other and walks away. What was your intention for shooting this scene?


Seyfi Teoman: It was a child’s game to flatten the coin on the train tracks. The two middle aged men in the film were comfortable living together, the childish play with the coin signifies their yearn for returning to the childhood. You know that children hugs a lot.



Q: There are lots of films made in past where a woman comes in between the two men. How did you want to depict this in your film?


Seyfi Teoman: In films, you just can’t make something new about it, that is why this film is not about two man falling in love with a same girl, but it is about a friendship between the two men. It is not about love or passion or an impossible relationship. Their despair is not about the relationship with a girl.  Although it may sound ironic, it is about the two men who want to stay young in heart like a teenager which they can not do because they are growing older. The novelist’s favorite film was Truffaut’s <i>Jules and Jim</i> and the book was like homage to the film and we were very aware of it when we shot this film.



Q: What were your intentions for depicting the girl’s relationship with the two men? Were the men like the father figure for the girl or her friends or potential lover?


Seyfi Teoman: When I was casting, I had a naïve boyish girl who didn’t know much about men in my mind. The two years that they spent together was like training for the girl to learn more about the men. But she always carried the potential to traumatize herself because of the death of her parents.  That was my motif for the  girl’s character. The relationship between the older men and young girl is complicated like in a real life and if they went any further, she could have ended as a lover of one of them.



Q: There are sceneries and nightscapes of the city of Ankara that appears between the plots leaving a strong impression.


Seyfi Teoman: It is always functional, filming wise, to have city scenes in between the plots. It is the easiest way to show the passage of time and I wanted to show the passing of time that took place in the span of two years. But I also wanted to capture the feeling written in the novel, describe the love of the city of Ankara in my film, because the novel is like a love letter to the city of Ankara. That is why I wanted to show the urban feeling, the set up of the city Ankara.


The Director Seyfi Teoman ended the Q & A session by saying that he was very grateful for being able to participate in the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival.

Our Grand Despair

KEIRIN.JPThe 24th Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
23rd Tokyo International Film Festival(2010)