One of the big surprises in store at the 56th Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival is a special screening of Tamilla, the 1927 silent film by stage and screen director Muhsin Ertuğrul which was previously thought to have been lost. A screen adaptation of the eponymous novel by French magistrate and author, Ferdinand Duchêne, Tamilla will be seen by audiences for the first time in 92 years in Turkey at the 56th Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival.
Tamilla is one of two films made by Muhsin Ertuğrul during the time he spent working at the All-Ukrainian Photo and Cinema Administration (VUFKU) in Kiev. Set in Algeria, a French colony at the time, the film takes up the story of a Berber woman who is married off by her parents at a tender age for a bride price. Tamilla stands out in particular for the superb designs of acclaimed German art director, Heinrich Beisenherz, and the atmosphere he manages to create. The cast is led by Soviet actors, Anna Zarzhitskaya, Matvey Liarov and Hakkı Alizade.
Live Music Accompaniment
The screening, a collaboration with the Ukraine-based Oleksandr Dovzhenko Film Center, will take place in the Perge Hall on November 1. Live music accompaniment will be provided by Ayşe Tütüncü on piano and Miray Eslek on clarinet.
Muhsin Ertuğrul made some 30 films over the course of his directing career, which began in 1919 with The Black Tulip Festival (Das Fest der Schwarzer Tulpe) and The Devil Worshippers (Die Teufelsanbeter). As the only filmmaker in Turkey between 1922-1939, he has become a highly controversial figure in the country’s national cinema. But he was, indisputably, a trailblazer: The Daughter of Smyrna (Ateşten Gömlek, 1923) was Turkey’s first narrative feature about the recently fought War of Independence and marked the first ever screen appearance by Muslim Turkish women (Neyyire Neyir and Bedia Muvahhit co-star); In the Streets of Istanbul (İstanbul Sokaklarında, 1931) was Turkish cinema’s first sound film, first co-production and first musical melodrama, and The Girl from the Marshes (Aysel: Bataklı Damın Kızı, 1932) its first rural film. Alongside his Turkish-made productions, Ertuğrul directed a number of films in Germany in 1920 and the Soviet Union in 1926. Spartak (Spartaküs), the other film he made in Kiev, remains missing to this day.