Zaim and Kafka

March 19, 2007

A couple of weeks ago I thought of Mahsum’s story in Tabutta Rovasata as similar to Woyzeck’s drama: the story of a pitiable man who is driven into crime by his social situation. However I was well aware that Mahsum’s story is much less dramatic and bloody. Nothing happens with a grand gesture. No comedy, indeed, but it has its moments of delicate visual humor.

mahsum-running.jpg

Today, while reading Kafka’s Penal Colony, I had a glimpse into some kind of knowledge. The similarity of – what? A tough one to describe, without oversimplifying neither work. First of all there is the conflict with a certain type of authority; authority in both cases is simply there, without any explanation and, it seems, legitimization; the clash with an absurd execution of power. And the surreal effect this clash of the guilty but not responsible individual with a convoluted and erratic authority has on the narrative.

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Sequencing of Filler ve Cimen

March 18, 2007

Filler ve Cimen (2000)

Written and Directed by

Derviş Zaim

Produced by

Ali Akdeniz
Fatoş Akdeniz
Bahadir Atay
Derviş Zaim

Cinematography by

Ertunç Senkay

Film Editing by

Mustafa Presheva

Cast

Ali Sürmeli – Camoka
Sanem Çelik – Havva Adem
Bülent Kayabas – Bakan Aziz Bebek
Haluk Bilginer – Sabit Üzücü
Uğut Polat – Friend/Şeref

Quotes
“Filler oynaşırken olan çimenlere olur.”
Anonim

“When elephants hump it’s the grass that gets beat.”
Anonym

During quotes/black screen, voice of a TV commentator. Sound continuity as cut to

1.) TV Sequence I: Images of a military ceremony: tanks on a plaza, politicians on a tribune, soldiers in protocol-uniforms marching in line. The image of the soldiers marching is superimposed on the State Minister Aziz Bebek.
The TV image suffers from some interference.

bondage-bebek.jpg

2.) TV transition cut to Bedroom/Bondage Scene: The camera tilts from the TV to a medium shot of Aziz Bebek and two prostitutes. One woman holds a mirror; the other, tied with black robes to Aziz is cutting the robes with a scissor.

The title is intercut – Filler ve Cimen
During the following shots credits are intercut.

3.) Surveillance of the bondage scene in a control room;
Photographs of the bondage scene. Two men: A bold man (Saim – or Zaim? Like Dervis Zaim…) and the chief of the intelligence service, Egemen Terzi (as we come to find out later). Photographs in envelope.

Credits.

4.) Montage of
Saim leaving a building;
Scenes of the city Istanbul;
Saim entering another building,

5.) Office of Aziz Bebek; Saim shows Bebek the photographs and blackmails him to resign.

6.) Camoka enters the room; Aziz gives him photographs of Saim and Egemen;

7.) Saim shot in car, Camoka and another man are putting drugs and photographs into trunk. Photographs apparently show Saim with ‘Kurdish terrorists’.

Credits intercut.

8.) Phone booth at the harbor in front of Camoka’s yacht. Camoka gives info to TV about the murdered intelligence service agent Saim Yalkut. Camoka says: Saim apparently in drug business with Kurdish terrorists. But who is behind all this: Egemen Terzi, enemy of the state, trying to “throw the state over”. Photographs of Egemen with Kurdish terrorists. “The Turkish people should know”. Typical nationalist argot, as we will encounter several times during film.

9.) Yacht of Camoka: Bebek/Camoka. Cover Page of a magazine – photograph of Camoka with shooting cross superimposed; important image, being shown several times during film (probably only image of Camoka). Camoka is being searched by police; a criminal. He wants to be “killed and buried”, i.e. disappear from the scene. Setting up of Camoka’s death drive. Bebek talks about an institution/committee/organization he will found “that is dependant on me”. He gives Camoka a bag with money and guns. Setting up of the plot: Sabit bribing Egemen.

10.) Jogging scene I: Outside yacht. Havva jogging by. Montage of her legs, running; showing different sites, harbour; a narrow street;

11.) Havva’s house: Crane shot from outside street up to brother sitting at the window. House is sparely decorated; small, simple. Doctor checks brother (who is an invalid soldier). TV image of Saim’s murder during check up. Brother should go to hospital.

12.) TV Images II.

13.) Montage of Havva leaving house; approaching hotel.

14.) Hotel: female cook gives her food; we’ll see each other tomorrow. She needs to Havva asks for job, cook tells her about a job at the rubber fabric.

sabit-uzucu.jpg

15.) In the lobby: Havva leaves. Sabit and posse enter. One of the guys is carrying a backgammon board.

16.) Ali Bey’s office: Sabit, Ali’s son Devrim (Sabit’s joke: bloody or not bloody), Ali Bey. backgammon board is a present to Ali Bey. Taking Polaroid photos. Sabit offers 20 Mio. for casino 80 Mio. for hotel; Ali Bey declines. Talk about fish farm, selling fishes. Imagery of the fish: Taner talking about fish cans while eating a fish; Hizir (the beggar) as hanging fish; sequence of the policeman and fishes; the Ebru painting of Havva at the end of the film looks like fishes in a pattern)

17.) Havva’s house: TV images of train; brother watching TV. A train is passing by the window. (Yet another comment on their domestic/financial situation.) (The train is an persistent image in the film: certain spaces are situated right next to it, as for example the Ebru Studio, or the ‘Turbe’, where Hizir and the other beggar live. Havva is riding the train several times. In the last shot of the film a train crosses the screen). A report about Cocaine on TV; bad quality of cocaine.

18.) At the fabric: Cocaine being packed; Sabit supervising. In the trunk of a car: a gagged female worker. She has seen too much.

19.) Extreme long shot of the woman who is lying dead under a streetlight. Sound of tea cattle. Sound continuity as cut to

20.) Top of a building: Sabit and his helper (called simply Helper from now on). Money has to be given to Camoka. Kill Ali Bey. Take cocaine from the market – rumors about cocaine being fake.

21.) Camluka’s yacht: TV image of Bebek who says: we have to take every measure possible against terrorism. Helper gives money to Camoka.

22.) Camoka’s yacht: Camoka trying out coke; deal with the Russian. “The planes have been bought”.

23.) Helper skimming backstreets of Istanbul. Then at the Turbe/dwelling of the two beggars. The beggars (Hisir and ?) are from Tunceli (as are the terrorists). Helper tells them to pretend to have murdered Ali Kansiz. (Montage sequence with sound continuity, inside and outside the dwelling). You’ll stay four years in prison; you’ll be treated well; and afterwards, you’ll be our men (which, of course is complete bs; the two’ll be at the mercy of the police, no one helping them). Helper drives the two to the hotel, shows them the place of murder.

hava-adem.jpg

24.) At the Ebru studio I: Havva goes to the Ebru studio; Ebru studio looks very similar to the Turbe (where the beggars live). The Ebru teacher says to the visitors: Don’t do Ebru outside, the dirt and dust could harm the marble surface.

25.) Havva is doing Ebru outside, in the rain. Images of her sitting in the train and of her doing Ebru are intercut.
What is the connection between the train and Ebru – both being ways to escape the narrow, suffocating world our characters live in? Symbols for mobility. Another scene where Ebru is being intercut is at the harbor – water/stream/ships/escape. Does it not in some way connect to Camoka’s character, who lives on a yacht, who kills to get the planes; who is promised by the American agent a private jet?)
Another connection of Havva and Camoka: they are the two last characters to be shown. They are both sites of truth.

26.) At the hotel: Helper is sitting in a cab; Havva passes cab, enters, passes Ali Bey who is playing backgammon; Havva goes to the kitchen; Havva leaves in front of Ali Bey, passes the cab and sees Ali Bey being killed. Havva running;

27.) TV images of the Avrasya marathon. Transition to Havva’s apartment. TV; train; brother in bed asks her for sth; we realize Havva’s fragility and her being there uncompromisingly for her brother. Havva gets out of the house, to a phone booth. She reports the murder and gives the ID number of the cab.

28.) Jogging sequence II. She runs through a splash of red water. Red foot marks;

29.) At Havva’s house;
TV images: soldiers in the east. Havva is joking around with brother. Sad times/happy times.

30.) Hospital scene: Cab to hospital. At the hospital: we have to intervene soon to cure your brother; the operation will cost a lot of money.

31.) At the Hotel: Sabit meets with Devrim (Ali Bey’s son): my offer stands. Devrim declines. Devrim wants to shoot Sabit; being stopped by his assistant/(boy-)friend (I will refer to him as Friend). Telephone call: Police has found the murders (transition to the prison sequence).

32.) At the prison: the two beggars. Montage sequence of the two beggars in separate interrogation rooms telling the story that they have been paid to tell. Policemen (I will rfer to him as the Officer from now on) gets his doubt. One of the beggars points at the wrong photograph when he is supposed to identify Ali Bey. The Officer beats the beggar up.

33.) Officer at the beggar’s dwelling.

34.) Prison: Officer holds the magazine with Camoka’s face on the cover in his hand, compares it to one of the beggars. Officer asks repeatedly for his name; he answers Hizir. Officer beats up Hizir.

35.) Officer calls Egemen Terzi (Chief of the intelligence service); tells him that someone looking like Camoka is in the prison.

36.) At Egemen’s office: Officer has understood that the beggars have not really committed the murder. He shows Egemen a photograph of Hizir. Egemen asks for his secrecy.

37.) Prison: Egemen looks at Hizir. Asks Officer for the other beggar. Egemen’s men suffocate the other beggar.

38.) Camoka’s yacht: Plane deal. The seller refuses to sell planes for the price Camoka offers. (Camoka obviously does not make a serious proposition).

39.) Yacht: (Sabit’s) Helper gives Camoka money. He asks Camoka to threaten and frighten Devrim into selling the hotel.

40.) Yacht: Coke try-out II with the Russian. Camoka underlines again that the planes have been bought. Obviously, as we know, he did not buy any planes. Loosing his mind? Driven by a death wish?

41.) Camoka drives with car to: the airport, where he looks at ‘his planes’ through the fence and to the hotel.

42.) Hotel: Camoka offers Devrim and Friend his help against Sabit (again: what strange game is Camoka playing; has he lost his mind?). They’ll think about it.

43.) Hotel without Camoka: Devrim puts the Polaroid of his father into the backgammon board-box and nails it shot. Havva’s music starts; continuity as cut to

44.) The Ruber fabric: montage of Havva working at machines; the camera dwells on the monotonous movement of the machines. (The rubber: erasing the written word or the drawn image – wish for Tabula Rasa? Can also be found in the all-covering capability of snow – end of film)

45.) Havva’s: Train. Dinner table. Havva tells her brother that she has changed jobs; she is working at a rubber fabric now. Brother gets angry; she should have asked him first; everyone should know their place in the world; you’ll be working with random man. Again Havva’s individuality is denied by her brother; her autonomy and being as woman is questioned. Tellingly enough the film cuts to Havva imagining kissing Devrim.

46.) Havva in train; then at the ‘Spor ve Bolge Mudurlugu’. Havva asks for money for her brother’s operation. He got wounded in the war. The bureaucrat suggests that she should ask a ‘high instance’, i.e. Aziz Bebek. She’ll have good chances; at the moment preparation to the next election; politicians will be able to use her story: A former successful athlete gets help from the politician for the operation of her invalid brother, who got injured in the war against Kurdish terrorists. A perfect nationalist tale.
We find out that the factory Havva works at is called Mucize silgi fabrika (Miracle Rubber factory). Bureaucrat: take your press reports with you when you go to see the state minister Aziz Bebek.

47.) Havva’s: TV sequence; brother watching. Havva cuts out photographs and reports of herself from magazine and newspapers. (This feels strangely painful to me)

48.) Havva and brother at harbor, i.e. at the stranded ship. Her brother shoots balloons (very literal imagery…). Another poetic rest/reflection of the camera on machine parts; in this case images of the ship. Havva looks into water; POV shot on the reflection on the water, intercut with shots of making Ebru.

49.) Hotel: Sabit’s man shoot at the hotel.

50.) Hotel: Devrim and Friend talk: we need the help of a organization; we have to save ourselves from the mafia.

51.) City images; continuity of Turk Halk Muzigi/ Turkish Folk music.
At a studio: Friend gives money to Kurdish terrorist (I will refer to him as Taner, since Taner Birsel plays the character). Friend asks for help.

52.) Hotel: Taner’s posse comes to the hotel. Gives out weapons; “find the places were we can put the “fireworks”, this isn’t our real job.

53.) Hotel: Devrim, Friend and Taner at dinner table. Taner eats a fish, and talks about the war; fish cans were a luxury. “We always wanted to eat canned fish”. Taner smells the fish. Clear class difference; and difference in sides at war, as we will come to find out later. Devrim: we only want you to protect the hotel.

54.) Street: Taner walks with woman (Tahir). They put a bomb into a container; children are playing, random people passing. Bomb ticking; sound continuity as cut to

55.) Train approaches a balloon that is tied to the rails;

56.) Sound of children screaming as Havva is shot in train.

aziz-bebek.jpg

57.) Convention center: Geleneksel Toplu Sunnet Kampanyasi – traditional public circumcision campaign. As Havva tries to enter she is been checked and left witing at the security booth in front of the convention center. Exercise of state power; the small citizen feels the weight of authority.
At the convention center: Konuş Kampanyası – Bebek’s “Talk” campaign. Bebek with boys: “Talk” “Konus”. He says on the phone: let her wait. Havva enters the Center; another security check;
In the meanwhile Sabit’s Mafia posse: no one checks them; the alarm goes off at each one passing the metal detector. Havva has to tell about her appointment to see the state minister yet another time, while the posse has free mobility;
Scene described by dervis;
Boys waiting to be circumziced. Taken away by someone from mother to the doctor, Teoman singing – circumcision band. Suddenly the boys are surrounded by men only. Very scurrile scene.
Bebek and Sabit talk (advancing the plot): Sabit was sending money to Bebek through Camoka; yet Camoka did not deliver; Bebek does not believe Sabit. Bebek calls Camoka. Phone conversation between Camoka and Bebek as cut to

58.) Airport: Camoka is killing the plane people; he is “buying” the planes for his coke business. He denies to have received any money from Sabit. (epitomal scene for Camoka – he has clearly no constraints anymore; his ‘bonds’ to reality have been completely cut off).

57. again) Convention center: In the restroom, Sabit and his posse are beating up the Helper, who insists that he delivered the money to Camoka; Children are walking by.
Sabit talking to Egemen Terzi: We’ve got to meet; it’s urgent.

59.) At the museum: Sabit and Egemen are talking: (The global conspiracy) Iranis, Americans, Kurds, Bebek…all in with the drug business. What kind of strange game are Bebek and Camoka playing? It becomes clear that there are rules in this mafia/state environment; terms that people can act according to. Camoka has clearly violated these terms.

60.) Convention center; Camoka enters; clowns are cheering up children in the cafeteria; Havva sitting next to clown and still waiting. Camoka is passing. (Both of tehm are in a life and death struggle; Havva is imposed on her; Camoka has brought his struggle about himself). The state minister has no time for Havva. She is send away.
Transition: Train

62.) Hotel: Havva enters. Taner and Tahir (male and female terrorist) leave.

63.) At the cabin of soldiers; Medium close shots of soldiers playing cards – humanizing effect. Taner leaves woman; holding hand; looking sad; not talking; woman putting bomb into toilet; shot of a street art painting of a snake and blood; Bomb going off;

64.) Officer at the site; finding a hand;

65.) Policeoffice: checking for fingerprints; the identity of woman is tahir sidika; tunceli;
TV transition as cut to

66.) Hotel: Devrim beating up Taner; then getting beat up by Taner’s helpers;
Havva finds Devrim. Calls Police. And does it wrong again! (every time Havva takes action she is scolded by a man. Friend is angry at Havva.
Devrim is gonna stay a few days at Havva;

67.) Road Control: Terrorist is being stopped at a control point;

68.) Havva’s: Havva at home; her brother; Devrim
TV images of terrorist Taner killed at road control. TV image of terrorists in front of weapons, making their sign.

69.) Jail: Friend is being tortured. Where is Devrim?

70.) Havva’s: Havva tries to change her brothers passport into Devrim’s passport by exchanging pictures. She is willing to annul her brother’s identity in order to save Devrim. However, she ruins the passport; the photo of Devrim gets burned. Up until now there was some sense of hope. The burning passport strikingly summarizes the loss of hope, the inability to escape. All encompassing state; Panopticum.

71.) At Devrim’s house: Havva finds pictures of Devrim and Friend; realizes that they are in love.
Police comes and arrests Devrim, then Havva.

72.) Jail: Journalists (?) taking photographs. Camera shoots the back of terrorists (facing the photographers) in front of guns; holding up hands. Horizontal tracking shot over terrorists; then Friend, Devrim, Havva, brother facing the camera, but standing/sitting with their back to photographers.

73.) Hamam: Camoka kills Sabit’s posse, Sabit included.

74.) TV sequence: Connection between Sabit and Bebek.”Iste sok iddalar”. Shocking accusations: (which are anything but shocking to the viewer) Video image of Sabit complaining about Bebek; Talking about Bebek threatening him; if this kind of thing is done to me a successful business man, what kind of thing is being done to the people? I am a useful, nation- state loving business man; we trust in the state. (Nationalist argo)
Press Conference Bebek: These are outrageous accusations. We have never been bribed, no bite of money went through our throat! That is crazy!

75.) Yacht: Camoka and gang is being kidnapped by Egemen’s people;

76.) At the intelligence agency: Interrogation. Low key lighting. Dark background/ light on figure sitting.
Camoka (‘s truth): we fought 15 years for this country; we did all the dirty work; we suffered so much pain that pain does not work us anymore. I am the king of excess; Asiriliginin krali yim

78.) Field: Cloads. Camoka’s men, held by Egemen’s people. Some are being killed. Egemen: I won’t kill you if you work for me: plastic surgery, new passport and green cart. (Escape, new identity). One of the men is getting killed;
The American agent: you tell him he can get into coke business with us; he will have his private jet; and there won’t be a single destination that he won’t reach; “tell him bastard”. Promise of free mobility.
Don’t think someone will help you.
From now on you’ll be a dead man. Egemen looks at the Hizir, the tramp’s photo.

79.) At the prison: Hizir, the tramp is being killed. Egemen destroys beggars file and leaves prison.

80.) (Story of the police officer) Montage of Officer: praying at the mosque, fishes hanging, gasping for air; Hizir with fish hanging in front of him.

81.) TV images: Funeral of Camoka. Egemen: find the policeman and kill him.

82.) Cloads. Rumble, destroyed buildings. Officer passing different sites is shown by a pan over the destroyed buildings (he leaves the frame to the left) to a flooded funpark (officer enters from the right). A sculpture of a woman on a carrousel looks like liberty in Delacroix painting.

83.) Jail: TV images of funeral; Havva is being escorted outside;

84.) Havva’s: her flat is destroyed as is her life. She picks up the rubbers and puts them inside the box. Photograph of her brother as soldier (is standing). Havva is crying. Blood streaming; a train moving.

85.) Yacht: Camoka tries to phone Bebek: I have to meet Bebek;
Press Conference Bebek: Did you kill Sabit? These are “senaryo”, scripts…plots; these things only happen in film plots…

86.) TV sequence: Bebek killed at yacht.

87.) Havva’s: TV image of Jaws(?) or some shark. She takes Rubber;

88.) Outside: Havva; rubbers in her hands; she gives them to a primary school teacher: please distribute them to the children.
TV image of Marathon on the bridge. Havva at the Bosporus, under the bridge. Again marathon images. Havva at the grave of her brother. Continuity problem: She has the rubbers in her hand.

89.) Policeman on the street; calling people: there are a lot of terrible things happening; strange things are happening; to several people; I am just a poor policeman;

90.) Stadium: marathon. TV transition as cut to

91.) Camoka with girls at a party; his eyes are masked, hat of Santa Claus; snorting cocaine from a girls back. Morning: wakes up between girls; goes outside; planes; takes out cocaine; holds up hand and lets cocaine fall from his fist.

92.) Istanbul in winter; everything is covered in snow; Havva is doing Ebru on a frozen basin; train is passing by.

End.
Written and directed by Dervis Zaim;