Download Youth Culture in Global Cinema PDF

TitleYouth Culture in Global Cinema
PublisherUniversity of Texas Press
ISBN 139780292709300
CategoryArts - Film
File Size8.4 MB
Total Pages364
Document Text Contents
Page 2

youth culture in global cinema

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projecting a bridge for youth 165

propaganda, and quite influential among their audiences, these films none-
theless rely on the mainstream melodramatic tactics of Yeşilçam as well as
on promotion of social engineering akin to that of the republican state.They
reproduce the dialectical formations of the stresses between indigenous cul-
ture and westernization. In this regard, the working of the Islamic alterna-
tive, sharing the structure of republican projects, opts for an ‘‘essence’’ set by
the male filmmakers. Because of this repetition of republican cultural tactics
and mainstream filmic discourse, Islamic films have not produced alterna-
tive texts that might go beyond formal ideological constructs—instead, as
will be seen below, they are the products of a male-dominated popular film-
making industry filled with patriarchal prescriptions.

Birle�en Yollar is based on Şule Yüksel Şenler’s best-selling novel Huzur
Sokag� � [The Street of Inner Harmony], which has some loose autobiographi-
cal elements about the writer’s own Islamic enlightenment. The film’s
graphics (on the cover of the DVD through which it circulates today) under-
line the conflict between the two separate worldviews of its young protago-
nists. The film starts with Bilal (İzzet Günay) studying for his graduation
exams in an old lower-middle-class Istanbul neighborhood marked by town-
houses from the nineteenth century. Life in the neighborhood is pictured as
happy, much like the idyllic south of D.W. Griffith. But the entry of modern
apartments brings in upper-class residents, threatening the inner harmony
of the neighborhood. Is this the threat of modernization and westerniza-
tion, or is this a threat brought in by the new upper-class residents? Indeed,
even though the filmmakers see it as only based on the degeneration of a
cultural essence, it is the threat of modernization, which is all about breaks
and divides in relation to tradition as a whole, with its sociocultural and eco-
nomic makeup.

The traditional Istanbul neighborhood is also threatened by a rich girl,
Feyza (Türkan Şoray), who is a resident in the new apartment building. Not
surprisingly, as in many social issue films or even melodramas of the era,
class distinctions are emphasized by showing two breakfast tables: one is re-
splendent with the excesses of a continental breakfast, and the other is as
basic and simple as possible. And, as in the romance depicted in Memleke-
tim, Feyza’s friends start partying, an activity characterized by thick smoke,
heavy drinking, and dancing to Western pop and rock songs. As indicated
above, this is the generic theme of popular melodramas that constructs the
insurmountable obstacles between the two main characters through a num-
ber of binary oppositions: high/low class, urban/rural, and so on. Crosscut-
ting and the portrayal of the rural, low-class character in the mise-en-scène
of a party are keys to depicting this opposition. If the promise of melodra-

Page 183

166 youth and inner-national conflict

matic text is the achievement of heterosexual romance through a deal be-
tween the economic might of the upper class and the authentic culture of the
lower class, Islamic films have a general tendency to depict upper-class char-
acters as being in search of something beyond their decadent life. In other
words, they enact the Pygmalion story, common in popular melodramas, in

In such a search, Feyza makes a bet about one of her friends, a class-
mate of Bilal, that she will make him come to her birthday party and dance
at the party. Romance is laid out in romantic comedy fashion; movement
toward the climax of play—the birthday party scene—is slowly constructed
through the cultural clash between Bilal and Feyza. Yet the contrast is off-
set by Feyza’s interest in Ottoman court music and her love for her grand-
mother, who wears the headscarf and prays continuously. So Feyza’s self is
divided between an upper-class, westernized look (makeup, perfume, music,
dancing) and a traditional, lower-class one (simplicity, her grandmother’s tra-
ditional attire). Feyza’s divided self is thus the battleground, and eventually
her playful side gives way to her other self, which is enlightened by Islam.
This is a slow process, in which Feyza first covers her head with a hat and
then with a headscarf, and then she begins to wear properly modest clothing.
However, the birthday party changes everything: first Bilal proposes mar-
riage and Feyza accepts, but then Feyza’s friends tell Bilal about the plot. As
Bilal leaves, despite Feyza’s deep apologies, the melodrama heightens. Feyza
marries a rich businessman who turns out to be a gambler and a criminal;
Bilal marries a lower-class woman. Feyza later gets a divorce and devotes
herself to religion and to her daughter, while Bilal’s happy life comes to an
end with the death of his wife, who leaves him alone with his son. Years
after Feyza’s enlightenment and her pursuit of a simple life, which she cre-
ates without any support from her family, her daughter coincidentally meets
Bilal’s son, who has become a doctor and treats Feyza. Before her death, Feyza
sees her daughter married to Bilal’s son, and thus the rift between Feyza and
Bilal is healed. The melodramatic narrative of this film comes in part from
the novel, partly from the director’s long history as an assistant director in
Yeşilçam, and also from the scriptwriter, Bülent Oran, who wrote several
hundred popular film scripts.

It is not surprising that the filmmakers who produced Gençlik Köprüsü
claimed that they had eschewed the trappings of popular cinema in order to
make a genuine Islamic film. Their critical attitude toward popular cinema
also involved an attempt to revolutionize the filmic environment in Turkey,
echoing the discourse of leftist filmmakers and critics.The film was directed
by Salih Diriklik, but it was written and made possible by a wider group

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346 youth culture in global cinema

Taiwan, 302
Tamblyn, Amber, 1,
Tarantula (1955), 54n8
Tarkovsky, Andrei, 3
Taxi Zum Klo/Taxi to the Toilet

(1980), 271
teachers. See schooling
technology, 29, 37–56, 159, 208–210,

247, 265. See also media; video

teddy boys, 10, 17, 19
television, 73, 123, 189, 225
Terminator : Judgment Day (1991),

38, 40, 53
teta i la lluna, La/The Tit and the

Moon (1994), 224
Thailand, 302
Theil, Günter, 278
Thirteen (2003), 189
Thriller-en grym �lm (1974), 156n3
Tigres de papel/Paper Tigers (1977),

Todo sobre mi madre/All About My

Mother (1999), 223
Top Hat (1935), 91
Torrent, Ana, 223
Torzók/Abandoned (2001), 73–74
Totally Fucked Up (1993), 269n7
Tressler, Georg, 27, 30, 33, 36
Tres veces Ana (1961), 112–113
Trevelyan, John, 17–18
Truffaut, François, 3, 23–25
Tschechova, Olga, 33
Tschechova, Vera, 33–

Tunisia, 151, 302
Turcsányi, Sándor, 73
Turkey, 157–172, 302
Tyson, Nathan, 211

Uçakan, Mesut, 167–168, 170
. . . und über uns der Himmel/The

Sky Above Us (1947), 28
United Kingdom, 9–10, 16, 89, 259–

262, 302–304. See also Britain;

United States: global influence of

films of, 9–26, 27–36, 157, 201–203,
262, 269; military of, 29, 37–56

Un pedazo de mí (1990), 111, 121,
126–127, 129

Unter Achtzehn/Under �� (1957),

Uruguay, 129n7, 304
Uzbekistan, 304

Valahol EurópÆban/Somewhere in
Europe (1947), 71

Van Sant, Gus, 210, 213
Venezuela, 304
Vergerio, Flavio, 5
video games, 40, 73, 110. See also

Vietnam, North, 38
Vigil (1984), 175–182, ���, ���
Vilches, Jordi, �
Voices Heard Sisters Unseen, 156n4
von Praunheim, Rosa, 283
Voyage en Douce (1980), 264
vulgarity, 15, 20, 65

Wagnleitner, Reinhold, 29
Walkabout (1971), 3
war, 30–31, 37–56, 71–78, 141, 312. See

also Cold War; World War I; World
War II

Ward, Vincent, 175–182
WarGames (1983), 38–39, 54n6
Warner Bros. studio, 15, 18–19, 98,

Watermelon Woman (1997), 242–243
Watkins, Arthur, 16–18, 23
Watkins, Craig, 95–96
Weather Underground, 54n4
Wessely, Paula, 34, 278
West Germany, 27–28, 33, 89, 273,

276–277, 281–283, 304–305. See
also Germany

West Side Story (1961), 98, 104n29
Whale Rider/Te kaieke tohora (2002),

175, 182–188, ��
, 189–206, ���
Wiede, Dieter, 6
Wild in the Sky (1972), 38

Page 364

index 347

Wild One, The (1953), 9–26, � , 28, 30,

Wild Style (1982), 87–105, ��
Witman Boys, The (1997), 75
Wizard of Oz, The (1939), 259
Wolff, Christian, ��
Wood, Natalie, 15
World War I, 75
World War II, 16, 28–29, 33, 71, 127,

210, 276

Xiaoyan, Tan,

Xuxa, 129n2

Yaln�z Deg� ilsiniz/You Are Not Alone!
(1990), 161–164, �

, 167–170

Yebra, Eloy, 225
Yeşilçam, 158–172
Yippies, 54n4
Young and Wild (1958), 20
youth. See adolescence, definitions of
Yugoslavia, 305

Zakhmi Aurat/Injured Woman (1988)
Zeuhlke, Joshua, ��
Zimbabwe, 305

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