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Zer is the story of a song, whispered to Jan's ear on his grandmother's deathbed. A survivor of Dersim Massacre, Zarife hid her identity, her past in her memory of this song. Raised in NYC, Jan begins a journey through Kurdistan, searching for his grandma's past and his own self.
It was a great pleasure for me to see ZER at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. What did I see?
I saw a profound movie, slowly told (my thoughts had time to develop during watching and listening), that has reached my heart and soul with his story, pictures, dialogues, music and with his humor. I saw a tribute to the Kurdish people, their culture, their traditions, their country. I saw a passionate plea against forgetting and non-talking. I saw, that pain can people hurt so much, that they are not able to talk about for their whole life. I saw a young man on the way to his roots, to himself. And I saw a story about an almost magical-like relationship between two people (Jan and his grandmother), who do not really know each other, but are suddenly so close.
Kazim Öz chose actors, who were able to give soul to the story of ZER: First of all Nik Xhelilaj as Jan (I think, he couldn't find a better one for this character: He has a kind of magical charisma, he captivates the spectator with his eyes and with his voice. He takes you by the hand - and you travel with him on his way to ZER in your mind), but also Güler Ökten as grandmother and all the other authentic actors, who embody the people Jan meets in his search. In the mountains of Kurdistan, ZER, this "oriental road movie" has almost documentary character.
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