Sunday, January 24, 2010

A record snow fall in Istanbul yesterday. It's the first time I've seen the city in snow. I crossed the Sultan Mehmet bridge and the Bosphorous was completely whited out, but floating out their in the whiteness was the gothic mosque in Ortakoy, looking very bit like a space ship coming through the fog. The whole city is giddy with snow fever. I went to Taksim to meet Ekrem. Both of us were so reminded of Boston that we were almost high on memory, and kept slinging each other down icy Istiklal and laughing for absolutely no reason. At night, I stayed in with Delal and the housemate and we watched a Turkish film called "Yol". It was pretty good, with a couple of really heartrending scenes in the snow that echoed the howling windstorm outside.

The director of this movie has an interesting story. His name is Yilmaz Guney, a Turkish Kurd from Adana. He was a political prisoner at the time Yol was being filmed and so he had his assistant follow his written directions when directing the movie, which he had spelled out in minute detail--in effect, directing vicariously. When it came time for the premier, he escaped from prison and took the negatives of the film to Switzerland. Like so many of Turkey's writers, directors, artists, and everyone else, he spent the rest of his life in exile. Yol was banned in Turkey until 1999.

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