”Yılmaz Güney”


“We don’t want to spend our lives away from our homes, singing ballads of exile.”
Yılmaz Güney, Paris 1982


As a character and cinematographer, Yılmaz Güney was director, script writer , actor and man of letters in revolution struggle of Turkey. A patriot with prediction who directs, writes and acts in that manners.

With his importance as an artist in the Turkish and World cinema, while we handling Güney’s story , we shouldn’t disregard his character, his life with struggles, his political existence in public side and his effects on Turkey as a thinker. As a Turkish cinema star, he acted in over hundred movies, after 1970’s; political and social contexts he included in his movies, he started new era on Turkish cinema which we still have the effects of it nowadays.

“Yılmaz is a man who’s come from the conditions of Turkish cinema that everyone shares, and rebelled in his own way.”
“He is a man who was able to rebel when he was at the top of this industry.”
Ali Berktay

His courage had always encouraged contemporaries and the ones on the next generations. Questioning his life means to follow the steps of his exile and jail life, coups, oppressions, agonies and hope that never ending. The main point of emphasis is the manner in which the artist, embraced by both Turkish and Kurdish people in his country, is force to exile, suffering from oppressive state policies like censorship or being declared traitor.

“I am a man of struggle. If I could not fight while I was in prison, I would have escaped even earlier. As I told before, I always said that I could escape anytime I wanted and that I was waiting for the right time. The right time arrived and I escaped. I escaped the prison, not Turkey.”
Yılmaz Güney


Then after, Güney gained reputation as a filmmaker in France and eventually “Yol” won the Palme d’Or in the 1982 Cannes Film Festival. “Duvar”, the last movie he shot in France, is the real-life story of a riot that breaks out in the children’s ward and spreads onto the entire prison, an occurrence which Güney himself witnessed.


“The prison atmosphere was all over us. I thought some torture scenes were real.”
“We are in the middle of reality here. No tricks. This movie does not cheat you.”
Sema Kuray


”Duvar” is much more than a movie – it is Yılmaz Güney’s last struggle and the representation of his eternal fight. Even today, the impacts of his endeavors are visible in various forms within the artistic and intellectual world. Also, the oppression and intimidation methods of the time still exist today, if not in the same manner.  Sometimes in the hands of governers and in some other time the hands of the capital who “understands and appropriates” Guney.


Because of that In nowadays Turkey where been agonized under civil dictatorship, where the puclic being crushed under authority, where the youth is getting massacred in the street by those hands, where the legislation and execution been monopolized, where the seeking justice counting as terror crime, we have to approach Guney’s life and his art as him as an ordinary citizen and an artist under these circumstances.


This documentary is different from the previous productions about Yılmaz Güney’s life in that it recounts his late years in France focusing on the movie “Duvar”. The journey of Yılmaz Güney and his cinematic insight to France and the process which made him part of the world cinematic heritage are narrated in detail. Not only his life, but also the lives of intellectuals, artists and revolutionists in both Turkey and France who were deeply influenced by him and some of whom still continue their artistic and political endeavors are related. The hardships of being a fugitive and also pursuing their dreams of producing and shooting movies in those days of oppression are narrated first hand.
“Paris is definitely one of the best cities in the world to live in. However, we are imprisoned there. When you put it that way, you might say that we are living in the best prison on earth.”
Ahmet Zirek




İlker Savaşkurt is director, actor and musician. He studied Cinema&Television in Yeditepe University in İstanbul.In music industry he has worked  bands such as Altar and UCK Grind.
Organised musical and cultural events all around Turkey.
He moved to USA in 2006. After his return he continue his cinema carreer.
Work in projects with Sera Film Services for international adaptations of television shows.
He directed advertisements for Haylazz Production Company.

Meanwhile he continue on theatre carrier then after television series acting and cinema movies.
He acted as leading actor in two movies Film “The Movie” got several international awards and Qüfür got special screening in Cannes.

In 2012 he met with Abbas Nokhasteh and joined his project in Sulukule Roman Volunteers Community.
Made documentary for Sulukule Hiphop Theatre and music videos.
In his short career he directed advertisements for television and worked in numerous movies.
He is co-founder of Tillah Productions and Amirler Film. Associate for Openvizor.

As he got a bound to Yılmaz Güney due to his grandfather, he dedicated himself to making documentary and a movie about Yılmaz Güney which gonna direct him for a movie of his grandfather.

A movie that requested from Yilmaz Güney to his grandfather to write a script and Güney to direct it which couldn’t happen due to their destiny. His documentary directs a way for a feature film about this story in close future.




Abbas Nokhasteh is a curator, filmmaker and producer. He is founder/director of arts organisation Openvizor, also founder/director at Paraa art and architecture practice in Dhaka, Bangladesh and director at Studio 174 arts academy in Downtown Kingston, Jamaica.
Abbas Nokhasteh has produced and presented works and research and curated events at cultural and academic institutions including The Serpentine Gallery; The Venice Biennale; The Victoria and Albert Museum; Tate Britain; The British Library; The Barbican Centre; The Southbank Centre; The Whitechapel Gallery; The New Museum, NYC; The Jewish Museum Berlin; Goldsmiths, University of London; Istanbul Biennial; IDARTES, Museo Nacional de Colombia and Museo de Arte del Banco de la República, Colombia.




Mehmet Kala is writer and musician. He finished Haliç University Classical Turkish Music.
He is co-founder of theater Emek Sahnesi in 2011. He wrote numerous plays and directed Jean Genet’s “Deathwatch”. He wrote script of feature film “Eksik” (Lack) in 2014.


Reenactments for Yılmaz Güney – BARIŞ ATAY


Barış Atay is an actor in Turkish cinema and television industry. In 2015, he also directed a movie ” EKSİK ”

In 1981, he born in Germany  and moved to Turkey then he lived until 1999 in Antakya. He started to study at Biology Department in Çukurova University but due to his passion of theatre and talent he left the school and moved to Istanbul. In Istanbul, he graduated from Yeditepe University Theatre Department.

He had a role for several television series includes ”Hacı”, ”Şöhret” , ”Arka Sıradakiler” and movies ” Eksik”, ”Güzel Günler Göreceğiz”


Narrator Voice – FUNDA ERYİĞİT


Funda Eryiğit is a Turkish cinema, television and theatre actress.She born in Samsun. She entered Faculty of Political Sciences and International Relationships in Istanbul University and she graduated from Istanbul University State Conservatory Theatre Department.She has got the best actress award with her performance in ”SILENCE” at ”18th Sadri Alışık Theatre and Cinema Artists Awards” also she has nominated as best actress at ”17th Afife Theatre Awards”.


Television Series: Karadayı, Eski Hikaye Uçurum, İstanbul’un Alıntıları, Canım Ailem

Cinema: Yok Artık!(2015), Limonata(2015), Ev(2009), İş Arıyoruz(2008)


Production – Openvizor


Openvizor film and documentary projects include works in the United Kingdom, France, Turkey, Iraq, Unites States, Romania, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Projects include Perpetual Peace (2010), Norman me guía (2012), Mass-e-Bhat (2014), Chuck Norris vs Communism (2015), Udita (2015), Hiwa K ‘The Bell’ (2015), Rickshaw Stories Havana (2016), Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ‘Endless Poetry’ (2016), The Region (2016) and Rising Silence (2016).



Camera & Editing: İlker Savaşkurt
Writer: Mehmet Kala
Script Advisor: Paul Hallam
Executive Producers: Mirage Illimite – Dominique Belloir & Openvizor
Paris Production Manager: Thomas Lallier
Istanbul Production Manager: Zeki Haşhaş
Production Assistants: Morgane Vie & Lou Nicollet
Effects and Graphicst: Kazım Can Alparslan
Original Music: Uğur Ateş
Final Mix: Meriç Erseçgen – Karasinek Sound Production
Color Correction: Haluk Korkut Turaç – Film Standartları
Online Editing: Cem Taşkara & Can Gelendost


Interviewers in order of appeareance:

Ali Berktay
İsmail Yıldırım
Marin Karmitz
Donat F. Keusch
Patrick Blossier
Ayşe Emel Mesçi
Ahmet Zirek
François Kotlarski
Jean Marc Lebeaupin
Marie Helene Quinton
Jean-Pierre Colin
Sema Kuray
Betty Nocella


The documentary sheds light on Yılmaz Güney’s life as a script writer, director, author and actor who established the foundation of Turkish political cinema and also on his projects which affected recent history, his cinematic perspective and predominantly his last years spent in France. It relates the battle he fought both as a strong political figure and a filmmaker during the dark period of coup d’état in the recent history of Turkey, from the years he served jail time to the time of his escape in 1981 until his death in France.

The documentary portrays the shooting process of “Duvar”, which is the most significant part of his life in France, and also his world by the help of the narrations provided by his close friends, family members and colleagues. Yılmaz Güney, having spent ten years of his life in prison, was subjected to oppression by the military regime in the aftermath of September 12 coup d’état like many other artists, writers, scholars and thinkers in Turkey.

In 1981, he escaped Isparta Semi-Open Prison and went to Paris, where he was going to spend the last years of his life. Esteemed in France as a filmmaker, he won won the Palme d’Or in the 1982 Cannes Film Festival with his movie “Yol”. Although the period of his life when he lived in France represents a life of exile from his home country, it also posed great importance with regard to his filmography. He shot “Duvar” during this period, and also “Sürü” and “Yol”, which contributed to his reputation in the world cinema scene.

The documentary builds a bridge between France and Turkey by following Güney’s trails in Paris, and also portrays the shooting process of “Duvar”, Güney’s political struggle and the lives Yılmaz Güney touched with his political struggles and film career, also the life stories of those who were forced to leave their country in the aftermath of September 12 coup d’état and met Yılmaz Güney during their years on exile.

The shooting of the documentary started in Istanbul and finished in Paris. It aims to shed light on Güney and his years of exile, together with his colleagues Ayşe Emel Mesçi, Ali Berktay and Ahmet Ziyrek, who at the time were living as fugitives in France, his close friend İsmail Yıldırım, a sculptor who was always by his side in his revolutionary struggle, and Sema Kuray, the child actress of the movie “Duvar,” and many of his companions who stayed in Paris and those who returned home, all about whom Güney stated “We don’t want to spend our lives as aliens and be forced to sing songs of exile until we die.”



When his cinematography and his personality are taken into consideration, Yılmaz Güney was a visionary and a patriot with the heart and soul of a militant. He was a director, script writer, actor and literary figure that worked, wrote and fought for revolution. Although it is disputable how far Turkey could reach in terms of democratization since the times of his struggle, there are still people, both within and without his social circle, hanging on to the same revolutionary ideals. Nowadays, when the notions of justice and equality are the hot topic in Turkey, to commemorate and understand Yılmaz Güney seems to be all the more essential. The documentary draws its purpose of production from this essentiality and, by drawing inspiration from this great artist’s inner world, it brings the audience closer to his art and struggles. Through his political work, Güney aimed to fight against all kinds of lords, tyrants and lawmakers with the public beside him. As a universal revolutionary, he is brought back to life on the lands that he died.

If we are to address Yılmaz Güney as an influential artist both in the Turkish and also the global cinema scene, it is necessary to take into account Yılmaz Güney’s character, his life full of difficulties, his political stance as a man of the people and his influence in this country as a thinker. His enlightened views and fortitude always encouraged his contemporaries and those who came after him to follow his trace. Examining his life in detail means diving deep into his years in exile and also in prison, the coup d’état, the oppression and pain he was subjected to and his never-ending hope. Each step taken towards that which is unknown about this powerful public idol sheds light upon the realities of both the past and the present.

If we take into account that, in today’s Turkey, the country is suffering from civilian tutelage, that the public is completely disregarded by those in power, that the youth is being murdered out on the streets by the state itself, that legislative, executive and judicial bodies are monopolized and that claiming your human rights is addressed as a terrorist crime, it seems all the more important to hold Yılmaz Güney as an example together with his art and his life as both a regular citizen and as a creative figure. The courage he upheld empowers today’s revolutionary artists and resisters.

Understanding Güney, who was the benchmark of realistic Turkish cinema, means also understanding that art has great transformative power. As a filmmaker, Yılmaz Güney produced some of the most artistic works to that date. His tone and style marked the beginning of a new genre in cinema and acting.

I believe that this project will help understand and recognize Güney and his contributions to the cultural heritage of both Turkey and France. The comprehensive nature of this documentary that extends from Turkey to France also enables us to make a socio-economic assessment regarding these two countries.

All in all, Yılmaz Güney’s exile sheds light upon the journey of cinema and art in two countries and the differences between the destiny of artistic expression in different geographies.



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