Turkey's first Kurdish language newspaper is under siege. After exposing human rights abuses in Diyarbakır, the journalists become the target of increasingly ruthless government-sanctioned intimidation.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Firat Altay ...
Kerim
Sezgin Cengiz ...
Kadir
Engin Emre Deger ...
Alisan
Aram Dildar ...
Firat
Asiye Dinçsoy ...
Songül
Mahmut Gökgöz ...
Dino Dayi
Hakan Karsak
Aram Kilavuz ...
Koruma
Omer Sahin ...
Reso
Abdullah Tarhan ...
Çekçekçi Hamit
Kadim Yasar ...
Halil
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Turkey's first Kurdish language newspaper is under siege. After exposing human rights abuses in Diyarbakır, the journalists become the target of increasingly ruthless government-sanctioned intimidation.

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journalism | See All (1) »

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Drama | History

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18 March 2011 (Turkey)  »

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Strong story
17 December 2012 | by See all my reviews

Quite often, filming a controversial historical episode ends up in one of the following ways: 1. the director tries to stay "objective" where her main goal is to criticize both sides "equally" and try to announce as much as possible how neutral she is; 2. conveniently position herself on one side and start preaching how bad the other guys have been. There are so many examples of the both camps that I find it unnecessary to give any specific examples. The flaw of the second approach is so obvious that it doesn't require any explanation. But, in my opinion, the first approach is as flawed, because, in case of a serious controversy, trying to keep an equal distance to both sides and having this as the primary goal of a film will result in a "hygienic", sterile and boring 90 minutes, where the director cannot do anything but shout "people are dying and it's very bad". It inevitably fails to capture the essence of history, and is bound to be long clip of "people dying while dramatic music is playing at the background."

Press, on the other hand, is a brave attempt to capture the essence of the darkest period of the history in Turkey, 90's. It's not a secret anymore that thousands of people were assassinated in Turkey during those years and among them were journalists, intellectuals and political leaders of the Kurdish people. Sedat Yılmaz's film is quite realistically telling a story of those killings (how those killings were an ordinary part of people living in the Kurdish cities) and how "Özgür Gündem", a Kurdish newspaper, tried to expose this actuality to both local and international society.

One may argue that many things are missing in the film especially in terms of cinematography, direction, etc. But, I think, the film succeeds at one very important level: the story is not only truly realistic (almost blunt), but also is told in such a way that, it doesn't try to make heroes out of the journalists of the newspaper. It even makes fun of them at times. For example, for the international audience it may not be easy to understand how funny it is for a Kurdish (or socialist) journalist to read a Kung-Fu book under those circumstances. Same with the criticism where they actually carry guns to protect their lives while this is used by the Turkish government as a way to accuse them of being part of PKK. The film is exhibiting the despairs of many people who has been involved in a political struggle, open up a discussion about what they have done without being judgmental about them. It's a drama, yes, but it doesn't try to dramatize the subject matter. I think there are many things to learn from the blunt storytelling of Press. It's a superb effort for a first film.


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