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Pazar - Der Markt (Pazar - Bir ticaret masali)
Germany/Turkey/U.K./Kazakhstan 2008

Opening 27 Nov 2008

Directed by: Ben Hopkins
Writing credits: Ben Hopkins
Principal actors: Tayanç Ayaydin, Genco Erkal, Senay Aydin, Hakan Sahin

Mihram (Tayanc Ayaydin) is a small-time merchant who struggles to support his family. He is exceptionally honest in this 1994 eastern Turkish milieu of mafia and black market. A physician gives him money to purchase much-needed vaccine for her hospital. He imagines that he can fill the order as well as earn a tidy sum on the side to establish his dream business: trading in cell phones. He crosses the border to Azerbaijan and picks up his uncle Fazil (Genco Erkal), who contributes comic relief to a serious topic. He is full of witty sayings, such as “Where does the moon get its light?” his stock answer to every unexplainable situation. Together they travel, road-movie style, from one pharmacy to the next on an elusive search for the medicine. In the end Mihram “realizes his dream but loses his independence and his self-respect,” according to British director Ben Hopkins. Or, simply said in the film: “The world revolves and we are all dogs in the end.” This is a universal theme, a classical story of any century, although here the traditional music expertly identifies the location. Hopkins said that he tried to show “both the creativity and innovation of capitalism, as well as the cynicism about expectations without having to pay the price of inequality and exploitation.” Ayaydin won best actor in this year’s Locarno film festival. Both actors attended the premiere at this year’s FilmFest Hamburg; the film was one of my festival highlights. (Becky Tan)

Second Opinion

At the Abaton Cinema the lead actor Tayanc Ayaydin and the producer Roshanak Behesht Nedjad, an Iranian lady living in Germany, were present for the German premiere of their film at the Filmfest Hamburg, speaking of the difficulties that had to be overcome due to last-minute financial changes and the time-consuming bureaucracy of obtaining permits for filming in lonely parts of Turkey. Tayanc (an intelligent, handsome young man speaking fluent English) told the story of how one of the patrols in Eastern Turkey recognized him from his popular TV series, asking for an autograph and not even looking at their papers. At the next control stop he stepped out of the car self-assuredly lighting up a cigarette, when he was rudely shouted at and ordered back to his seat to be treated as roughly as anybody else. With a twinkle in his eye he said that the guard on duty obviously had never watched him on Aliye TV or his popular Night Walk TV show.

A critic asked, “How can an English director, Ben Hopkins, possibly make a Turkish film with a realistic feel about it?” He can, and very well indeed, I would say – and so say the Turkish actors and staff. Ben Hopkins speaks Turkish and loves the country, but the film is also a cosmopolitan effort, involving Germany, Turkey, Great Britain, Kazakhstan, and above all headed by an Iranian-German lady producer. Pazar - Der Markt gives an unsentimental – and often comical – view of our modern world where globalization plays the big role and old individual ideals become useless. This is a wonderful film affording us a look at our neighbouring country, Turkey, which is not so foreign after all. (Birgit Schrumpf)

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