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Reha Erdem • Director

"I love the topic of the 'kid revolt'"


- Turkish filmmaker Reha Erdem talked to us about his ninth feature, Big Big World, at the 16th Mediterranean Film Festival held recently in Brussels

Reha Erdem  • Director

We met up with Reha Erdem at the 16th edition of the Mediterranean Film Festival, which was held in Brussels from 2-9 December. He talked about his latest film, Big Big World [+see also:
film review
interview: Reha Erdem
film profile
, which is his ninth feature and competed in the Horizons sidebar of the Venice International Film Festival.

Cineuropa: What were the main driving forces behind Big Big World?
Reha Erdem: Everything I’ve lived through, everything I’ve seen, everything I’ve experienced. My motivation, my reasons and my inspiration to make this film were easy and driven by my imagination. As in every movie, the hardest thing was finding funding. I wouldn’t say, though, that there’s any specific reason behind Big Big World apart from the stories I like to tell and what life has taught me.

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Tell us about the film’s locations – what were the main differences between filming in civilisation and in the woods?
It’s completely different when you film in the city compared to the woods. Physically, the city was more complex, more tiring and more stressful. Nature was easier to film in, and it was also a calmer atmosphere there, which eased creativity and inspiration. The elements in nature, such as light and colours, were much more evocative, and that’s reflected in the film. I have to recognise that I felt much more comfortable in the woods.

There is a clear and unpredictable change in narrative direction when Ali and Zuhal leave the city; what did you intend to achieve with this?
Nature is where I really wanted to locate the story; that’s why the part of the film in the city is so short. I couldn’t find the nature I was looking for in the city. The first part shows the reality the characters live in, and the second part shows the illusion the characters use to avoid that reality. I couldn’t use a location that could be easily associated with society, and that’s why the film moves to the woods: the only place where the kids can escape. There are, though, many moments of catharsis throughout the film, in both the first part and the second one. One of them could be when Ali becomes Kum-Kum and Zuhal becomes Mi-Mi, and they begin a process of introspection helped along by the natural aura that surrounds them, and another could be the moment when Ali kills the adoptive family of Zuhal.

Your previous movie Times and Winds also deals with the topic of children escaping from the adult world of rules and impositions: do you feel that Big Big World is a continuation of that film?
Times and Winds is also about kids and nature. It uses the same elements, yes. Of course, I love the topic of the “kid revolt”, of kids fighting the adult world. The possibility of questioning the rules of the adult world is very interesting, and understanding the sense of that revolt is the reason why the topic grabs my attention so strongly.

Do you think a kid’s perspective helps to explain certain things, such as violence?
The world is violent, and not only in the adult world. Every molecule, every living being in this world, and in the universe, is violent and fights for survival. This can be seen through kids’ eyes or through anyone’s eyes, but there’s only one reality to be shown: this world is violent.

How are things looking for Turkish cinema?
I don’t know, actually, but I hope that there are times of diversity to come. Turkish cinema, as well as other types of cinema, such as Korean, hasn't yet exploited its potential in terms of diversity. There are many different things to expect from Turkish cinema in the future, that’s for sure.

Do you have any upcoming projects?
Many, but I’m keeping them secret. The only thing I can say for sure is that I won’t delve into the topic of kids revolting and escaping into nature again.

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