Beyond the forest

Gulya Mirzoeva
France 1999 | 75 Min. | 35 mm, OmeU

In the Taurus Moun­tains of south­west Turkey, peas­ants recall having been shep­herds in their child­hood. Their ances­tors, who had come from cen­tral Asia long ago, even­tu­al­ly set­tled in their summer pas­tures. Today, houses have replaced the shep­herds’ huts. This film tells how old musi­cians meet to rekin­dle the spirit of a van­ished pas­toral world.

Old Hayri Dev, out­stand­ing master of the oboe and the »üçtel­li« (a small, three-stringed lute) lives in Tasavlu (south­west Turkey). One morn­ing, he decides he will set off on a jour­ney across the Çameli moutains to visit a boy­hood friend, Mehmet Sakir Akku­lak, a rugged shep­herd and impetu­ous violin player, who lives one walk­ing day away.

Find­ing his friend in the moun­tains, Hayri con­vinces Mehmet to return to Tasavlu along with him in order to feast »yaren­lik.« A »yaren­lik« com­bines the giddy joy of danc­ing with an unquench­able musi­cal energy. The spirit of youth com­plete­ly alter­ates these old men, fond of total freedom.

»In my film, I wished to get behind the secrets I believed Hayri and Mehmet to pos­sess: unpre­dictable wisdom, free­dom of spirit, the absolute expres­sion of lib­er­ty. I wished to depict time itself float­ing, dis­tance, hori­zons to which I am very sen­si­tive because of my child­hood: hori­zons where I can find myself once more.« (Gulya Mirzoeva)