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Turkish auteur cinema and European identity: Economic influences on aesthetic issues

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With the question of the so-called European nature – the unitas multiplex – of our cinema in mind, we turn to the European identity of Turkish movies, at a time when the possible integration of Turkey into the European Union looms large over EU-27 parliamentary elections. We propose two approaches, one economic and the other semiotic. For the first approach, we present the economic history of the Turkish popular feature film industry and show the role it has played in the production of contemporary Turkish auteur cinema. We also demonstrate how the emergent generation of film-makers relies on European funding. For the second approach, we propose an analysis of the main characteristics of the movies shot by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, an important representative of this new generation, which have much in common with European classical movies. Our study reveals how his work rests on European cultural references and a deeply European way of making movies. According to the director himself, this un-Hollywoodian approach makes it possible to explore the inner self of his characters. We conclude that, if we can establish the presence of obvious convergences between Ceylan's cinema and the European culture, the hypothesis that financing strongly influences aesthetic issues is not validated.
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Keywords: European Union; European cinema; European culture; Nuri Bilge Ceylan; Turkish cinema; cultural identity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: ESCP Europe 2: Université Paris VIII

Publication date: February 29, 2012

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  • The Journal of European Popular Culture investigates the creative cultures of Europe, present and past. Exploring European popular imagery, media, new media, film, music, art and design, architecture, drama and dance, fine art, literature and the writing arts, and more, the journal is also of interest to those considering the influence of European creativity and European creative artefacts worldwide.
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