BALLAD OF EXILES
“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.”
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.”
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.”
”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.”