< Light Millennium: Mutlu Yildirim - My goal is to underline the female perspective in my movies; Article by Nazli Burcu Yuzak
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My goal is to underline
the female perspective in my movies

by Nazli Burcu YUZAK
for Light Millennium

In her book •Red[1], Terry Tempest Williams passionately names a series of reasons as to why she writes:

"I write to make peace with things I cannot control. I write to create red in a world that often appears black and white."

I write to discover.
I write to imagine things and in imagining things differently perhaps the world will change."

"I write to remember. I write to forget.
"I write out of my anger and into my passion. I write because I believe in words."

"I write because I do not believe in words.
I write knowing words will always fall short. I write knowing I can be killed
in  my own words stabbed by syntax, crucified by both understanding and misunderstanding. .. I write because it is  dangerous,  a bloody risk, like love, to form words, to say the words, to touch the source, to be touched, to reveal how  vulnerable we are,  how transient we are. "

Another noteworthy paragraph in William Maxwell's book of "The Outermost Dream"

[2] starts with suggesting that  many people become writers because of their love of reading. "White was an exception."  says Maxwell. E. B. White once  wrote to his brother that he still remembers, really quite distinctly, looking a sheet of paper  square in the eyes when he was seven or eight years old and thinking, "This is where I belong, this is it".

When we asked her how she first got the idea to make a movie, Mutlu Yildirim's response was as passionate.

- I was 6 years old, coming out of a movie theater and thinking to myself "This is the reason why I was born." Cinema's power and magic has so gotten into me. Up until high school, the need in me to tell others stories' grew bigger and bigger. I spent all that time writing and directing short plays and directing amateur videos.

Throughout the course of my college studies, I directed 8 movies, 1 Public Service Announcement and 1 Live TV show. My final piece, Narrow Streets, was inspired by an article my sister had written. I took the story in that article and turned it into a screenplay.

I believe I met my own expectations for this movie, however in my next project I•d like to go in more depth of the characters. Actually,  my goal for the next two projects are first to turn Narrow Streets into a feature length movie and secondly direct a horror movie.

She has some favorite directors who she admires. Among her favorite directors she names internationally recognized directors,  such as Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Pedro Almodovar of •Talk to Her•, Ferzan Ozpetek of the sensational trio; Hamam (Steam, Turkish Bath), Harem Suare and His Secret Life, and Mustafa Altioklar of "Istanbul Beneath my Wings".

- But they are all men! My goal is to underline the female perspective in my movies. Besides, especially the Turkish cinema, I think, needs more "personal" stories.

We were wondering how she chose her story as well as the cast for the movie "Narrow Streets" which was recently screened  at Village east Cinemas of Manhattan, New York.

-      It is really easy when you derive stories out of your own experience. This movie is the result of all the events that  have happened around me for all those years. Those stories found life especially in two most important women in my life; my mother and my sister. Out of my and their experience, I created this movie. After all, I wanted to create something where  women of different generations could relate themselves to. 

Most of the women are heart broken. It is most of the time because of men. As I stated in my movie; •Maybe we expect too much from them••I came to this conclusion after witnessing all the sad moments women went through, after all the conversations with my friends we had about men.

The movie Narrow Streets has a very unique usage of the contrast technique. We asked Mutlu more about her technical style:

- I did not only use the contrast technique but also the freeze frame and fast zoom techniques. I used these techniques in order to introduce the characters. I wanted them to be understood very well. Overall, I was determined to use the black and white technique since the story was a drama. I used the contrast technique to underline and emphasize the saddening events.

For those heart broken women, life was either too white or too black. They did not have the gray zone in their lives where there  would be still hope.

So, how long did it take you to prepare this movie?

-      It took me 2 months to write/edit the script, to choose the cast, and to shoot and edit the movie.

Your movie was shown along with young, experimental movie examples. In those terms, how would you evaluate your movie?

- I never needed to categorize my movie before, but it can definitely belong to both categories. I have used techniques which have not frequently used before and my film also has a very distinct subject.

So, how are your impressions and expectations on young and experimental movies? Are there any examples that influence you?

- In experimental movie category, I find Brazilian and Mexican productions very successful. They have very interesting and creative ways of story telling. Besides they are much more inspiring than commercial movies.

[1] Red, Passion and Patience in the Desert, Terry Tempest Williams, 2001, Vintage Books.
[2] The Outermost Dream, Literary Sketches, William Maxwell, 1956, Gray Wolf Press.

Biography of the director, Mutlu YILDIRIM

Mutlu Yildirim was born in Istanbul in 1981.Until university, she went to Dogus High School in Istanbul.Later on, Mutlu came to Washington, D.C. to study Film and Literature in Cinema Studies. During her studies, she had experience in various films,commercials, documentaries both in Los Angeles and in Washington, D.C. area where she build my way up from Production Assistant  positions to Assistant Director positions. She,herself,also shot 8 films,1 Public Service Announcement, and 1 live TV show.  2 of my films, "Jane and Sarah" and True Diary:The Story of Addiction" got honorary awards at Visions Festivals in Washington, D.C.

Biography of Nazli Burcu YÜZAK

Although born in Ankara, Turkey in 1974, Nazli spent all her life in Istanbul, one of the most inspiring cities of the world. She always had an urge to write about things: things that made her cry, laugh, surprised, and think... She began writing poems at the age of 18 and currently she has more than 50 poems. The main themes she uses in her pieces are life, surprises in life, and disappointments in life.

In the last three years, she forced herself to write longer pieces. She started writing a weekly column for an online magazine titled Rekor. At the same time, by writing restaurant reviews, she managed to bring together two of her greatest passions in life: writing and food.

Her sister, Mutlu Yildirim, realized how Nazli's latest article appealed to her as a woman and how every other woman can find herself in the story. She decided to convert Nazli's "Narrow Streets" into a film scenario and make a movie out of it. The movie received very positive remarks in The New York International Independent Film and Video Festival, where it had its first debut.

_ . _

E-mail: nbyuzak@hotmail.com

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