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Meteors

Date: Monday, April 22, 2019

Time: 7pm

Location: Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA

Director: Gürcan Keltek

Film Details: 2017, 84 minutes, DCP, b&w, sound, in Turkish & Kurdish with English subtitles

Tickets | Facebook Event

Winner of the Swatch Art Peace Hotel Award and Nominee for the Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival. Winner of the Dokufest International Dox Award. Winner of the BAFICI Human Rights Award.

Filmmaker Gürcan Keltek will participate via Skype for Q&A.

About the Film:

They come at night. Everyone steps out of their homes. They light torches and remember those who have walked these streets before them. In the next few hours, the city is on lockdown and an eclipse appears. At night, meteors start to fall. Blending documentary filmmaking and political commentary, and connecting the earthly to the cosmos, “Meteors” is a film about memory and disappearance – of people, places and things.

“Keltek places the hidden events in Southeast Turkey in a dark poetic context. An intriguing and occasionally delightful mixture of fact and fiction.” – IFFRotterdam

“Shot in a variety of digital video formats that have been unified into a grungy, crepuscular black-and-white, Meteors takes on its subject via multiple sidelong glances: mini-portraits that blur the terrestrial, cosmic, and political antagonisms bubbling over in the region.” – Leo Goldsmith / ArtForum

Director’s Statement:

“In the late summer of 2015, I started to watch videos live-streamed from South-Eastern cities of Turkey. There was no information or media coverage, so reality itself became polluted, distorted and fragmented. The original inspiration came from these accounts which were completely anonymous, in the videos that appear late at night. The videos consisted of mostly static, one long shot of their neighborhood from their window and lasted for approx. 50 – 60 minutes or so. There was real tension in them since there was curfew outside, but there was this other spookiness to them. Images were banal, yet magical: If you look long enough, in split second, something terrible or beautiful were happening. One of those who live-streamed was whispering, answering to user comments, with one long-paused monologue. All the user accounts and their contents were being deleted after the broadcast. I started to record the sounds. Then the images, different broadcasts in the same street, sometimes reverse shot of each other. When I started shooting and editing, I decided to use other people’s images with my own images, because I wanted to keep them in memory, in some form or another. I did not want them to be disappeared. It was precisely this fragmented nature of material which led to episodic structure of the film.

In Meteors, nature is a protagonist. The idea of control and territory oscillates between the real and the imaginary. The narrative appears in between them: A sloppy camera records things, people and landscapes. It unveils stages of disappearance: of memory, of things, of being. Our behaviours relate to a certain geographic location, and its history. It shapes our memories, how we remember them. During the clashes, streets, boulevards and towns were destroyed and rebuilt. Cities were full of disintegrated landscapes. People moved or were forced to move. Urban landscapes were constantly changing. Most of the places were renamed, certain locations were relocated to somewhere else.

Then strange anomalies started to occur. When you speak with the elders, they were saying that gods were so angry at people that they start throwing stones at them. They called it ‘bad spell’. Being an agnostic, part of me refused this, but at the same time I liked the idea of natural/supernatural forces intervene when people literally stop listening to each other. That’s why I still don’t know if this film is a documentary or fiction. I refused to get stuck to one or another. When the reality is bigger than what we think of cinema, I believe we have to find other ways to describe this criteria.” -Gürcan Keltek

About the Director:

Born in Izmir in 1973, Gürcan Keltek studied film at Dokuz Eylül University before directing several shorts including OVERTIME (2012), selected at Visions Du Réel and DOK Leipzig. His medium-format film, COLONY (2015), was screened at FIDMarseille. METEORS (2017), his first feature film, premiered at Locarno Film Festival where it won Swatch Art Peace Hotel First Feature Film Award and Cinelab Award. His latest film GULYABANI (2018) premiered in the Signs of Life section at Locarno Film Festival.

Screens with:

HERE THERE IS NO EARTH (dir. Martin DiCicco)
2018, 6 min, B&W in Turkish with English subtitles

Testimony about a shepherd’s encounter at the Turkish-Armenian border provides a haunting perspective on the countries’ physical and invisible lines of separation.