Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Crossing the Bridge The Sound of Istanbul|
Actors: Alexander Hacke, Baba Zula, Orient Expressions, Duman, Replikas
Director: Fatih Akin
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Fatih akin introduces an international audience to the diversity and uniqueness of musical creativity in the heart of istanbul ranging from modern electronic rock and hip-hop to classical arabesque. Studio: Strand Releasi... more »
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Fascinating musical portrait of Istanbul
Richard K. Woodward | Edinburgh, Scotland | 10/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having been involved in preparing the soundtrack for Fatih Akin's film "Head-On" (which I highly recommend, though if you're reading this review, you probably already know it), the bass player for the legendary German rock band Einstürzende Neubauten came back to Istanbul to further explore contemporary Turkish music, which he'd gotten a taste of and liked. The result is a fascinating musical portrait of Istanbul, including gypsy music, rap (I'm no expert, but Ceza may be doing the most interesting hip-hop ever recorded outside the US), a Canadian woman (Brenna MacGrimmon) who had fallen in love with old Istanbul whorehouse ballads and learned to sing them in flawless Turkish, Turkey's superstar Sezen Aksu, the "godfather" of "Arabesque" Orhan Gencebay, as well as Kurdish, Sufi, and street musicians. For my money, this is at least as good as "The Buena Vista Social Club" and has the potential to do for Turkish music what that film did for Cuban music, given the right marketing. And by the way, the soundtrack is also available on CD.
I'd like to take the opportunity to plug some other Turkish work that I think would be interesting for fans of "Crossing the Bridge". I am very glad to see that two films ("Vizontele"Vizontele [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.0 Import - Germany ] and its sequel "Vizontele Tuuba"Vizontele Tuuba [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.0 Import - Germany ]) by one of Turkey's leading directors and comic actors, Yilmaz Erdogan, are now available on Amazon (albeit only as imports from Germany which don't play on standard US DVD players), as well as the marvelous soundtracks to those films and other CDsBogaziçi Gösteri Sanatlari Toplulugu Vizontele Tuuba by the group Kardes Türküler, one of the best groups performing music based on the folk traditions of various Anatolian peoples (including Turks, Kurds, Armenians, Georgians, and others). This is wonderful stuff that certainly deserves a wide audience outside Turkey.
Uneven quality but contains some great stuff
Eric Evans | Ithaca, NY USA | 08/09/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This survey of the various musical cultures of Istanbul attempts to fairly represent the enormous variety of musics in that city. It's an ambitious film that falls somewhat short, but nonetheless contains some extraordinary musical performances that make this DVD well worth buying and seeing repeatedly. I could quibble with the director over his choice to devote so much coverage to rap and heavy-metal rock musicians. The latter are especially bad, even by the standards of heavy-metal, and are basically lacking completely in any kind of musical artistry or skill. It's hard for me to comprehend how these naive and immature musical duffers could be given such a considerable amount of time in this film, which also features some truly great musical artists. The best thing for the viewer is to skip the first half of the movie and jump to the second half, where the really good stuff is. Especially strong are the performances by Selim Sesler, Brenna MacCrimmon, the great Kurdish singer Aynur, Mercan Dede, and Sezen Aksu. Unfortunately only a short amount of time was devoted to Mercan Dede, the great ney player, but he was one of the more interesting artists in the film. Aynur was certainly one of the great standouts in the film. Her performance is astoundingly beautiful and absolutely mesmerizing. Sezen Aksu is another extraordinarily beautiful singer whose performance near the end of the film is very moving. In general though the movie appears to be poorly thought out and poorly put-together. There are far too many scenes featuring the German bass-player Alexander Hacke, basically doing nothing but trying to look cool at all times, walking the streets of Istanbul or leaning out of a window overlooking the city while smoking a cigarette. Why he was a part of the filmmaking team at all is a great mystery, since he contributes nothing to the film. I would have appreciated a more serious effort to look at the deep cultural roots of Turkish music instead of this superficial survey. For example, nothing whatever is mentioned about the importance of Sufi music in Turkish musical culture. There is one very brief interview with a Sufi monk who only describes the symbolic significance of his clothes! No mention is made of the great importance of Sufi music and no Sufi music is ever played in this film. Instead the director seems to be more interested in portraying the superficial grunge of Istanbul and talking to pretentious hipsters. Still, although the movie does have a lot of weaknesses, its strong qualities are so VERY strong that it's definitely worth watching."
"To understand the place, you have to listen to the music it
Galina | Virginia, USA | 04/12/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
German-born Turkish director Faith Akin captures in his film the endless variety of the different styles in music and songs in Istanbul, a city that is a bridge between East and West, a city that is uniquely located on both sides of the Bosporus, in Europe and in Asia. Kurdish dirges represented by Aynur, who performs her own brand of Kurdish gospel music, passionate and melodic. We are introduced to Romany instrumentals, to Orhan Gencebay, who has been called the Elvis of Arabesque music - sounds of music are heard everywhere in the city as Faith Akin takes us into underground clubs, to the street performers, and to recording sessions. German bassist Alexander Hacke who comes to Istanbul to play and to learn about Turkish music quotes Confucius, "To understand the place, you have to listen to the music it plays". Akin's fine documentary does just that - gives us 90 minutes of music that helps to cross the bridges. For me, watching the movie was especially interesting because I recently visited Istanbul as a part of my vacation and spent four days there. The city fascinated me by its images, colors, crowds, vibrancy and visual beauty. Now, I can add the sounds of music to the ever-changing portrait of Istanbul