Turkey’s biggest film festival, the Istanbul International Film Festival is here! The festival takes place between 6th to 16th of April all over Istanbul with screenings of the latest films from Turkish and World cinema, events and a celebration of Ingmar Bergman’s 100th birthday. Whilst we’ll be all over the town to see three films a day, we’ve gathered our 8 must see films at the festival for you!
From the director of “A Fantastic Woman”, this year’s Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards, Sebastian Lelio, “Disobedience” tells the story of a woman who returns to her Jewish community years after being shunned for her same sex attraction to a childhood friend and how their passion reignites after meeting each other once again. Starring Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz, the film received good reception at TIFF where it premiered. “Disobedience” is already one of the most anticipated films of the year for its stellar performances and its subject matter. It’ll premiere as one of the films of Vodafone’s Red Galas at the festival.
Turkish director Tolga Karaçelik’s third feature “Butterflies” tells the story of three siblings who haven’t seen each other in years and their journey back to their village after their father asks to see them all together after 30 years. Once they arrive at the village, however, they discover that their father has already passed away. Starring Karaçelik, Tuğçe Altuğ and Tolga Tekin, the film’s tagline “There is nothing more dangerous than an astronaut with nothing to lose” is enough to spark interest. “Butterflies” won the Grand Jury Prize in World Cinema at Sundance Film Festival and will be competing in the National Competition at Istanbul.
- Isle of Dogs
Winner of this year’s Silver Bear at Berlinale, Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs” is about a boy’s odyssey in search of his lost dog in Japan. “Isle of Dogs” is Anderson’s second stop-motion animation and holds the record for being the longest stop-motion film of all time. Influenced by Japanese culture, the film stars Anderson’s longtime collaborators Bill Murray, Anjelica Juston, Jeff Goldblum, Tilda Swinton and Edward Norton with some first timers like Greta Gerwig. And if you say “Isle of Dogs” fast, you’ll find yourself saying “I love dogs”, which is, I mean c’mon, so cute.
- You Were Never Really There
Lynne Ramsay’s first feature after “We Need To Talk About Kevin”, “You Were Never Really There” tells the story of a traumatized veteran who tracks down missing girls for a living. The film premiered last year with great reception at Cannes where Joaquin Phoenix won Best Actor and Ramsay Best Screenplay. Phoenix’s performance is already being talked about for an Academy Award nomination.
- The Miseduction of Cameron Post
Director Desiree Akhavan’s second feature “The Miseduction of Cameron Post” is about a teenage girl who is forced into a gay conversion therapy center by her conservative guardians in 1993. The film premiered at Sundance where it won Grand Jury Prize and received positive reviews. “The Miseduction of Cameron Post” stars Chloe Grace Moretz in the titular role with “American Honey” star Sasha Lane and Forrest Goodluck.
Academy Award Winner Steven Soderbergh’s “Unsane” grabbed everyone’s interest even before everyone knew what it was about. Starring Golden Globe winner Claire Foy and Jay Pharoah, “Unsane” was shot with an iPhone camera in secret, in just 10 days. The film tells the story of a young woman who is involuntarily committed to a mental institıtion where she has to face her greatest fear – which may or may not be a product of her delusion. “Unsane” is Soderbergh’s first thriller movie and Foy’s first lead role after The Crown.
Christian Petzold’s new film “Transit” tells the story of a man who flees France after the Nazi invasion by impersonating a dead author whose papers he possesses. During his time in France, however, he meets the author’s wife who is searching for her husband. Nominated for the Golden Bear at Berlinale where it premiered, “Transit” is a a bold, innovative attempt at tackling history in the face of contemporary politics and an allegory about the shifting nature of love. (You can read Kareem Baholzer’s Berlinale review of the film here.)
- Ex Libris: The New York Public Library
Frederick Waseman’s new documentary “Ex Libris” takes a look within the walls of New York Public Library. The three hour runtime of the documentary might be scary for some viewers, but those who know the work of Wiseman (the second documentary maker to win “Lifetime Achievement Award” at Venice Film Festival), know that the long runtime of his documentaries are a rewarding journey. “Ex Libris” has been nominated for and has won Best Documentary awards in many film critics circles, and was also nominated for the Golden Lion and won the FIPRESCI Prize at Venice Film Festival.