Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 20, 2021


Year: 1999
Country: Turkey/Netherlands/Germany
Run Time: 104 minutes

Haunting, heroic, and shot in vivid tones by one of Krzysztof Kieslowski's favorite cameramen, Yesim Ustaoglu's tale of cross-cultural compassions concerns Mehmet and Berzan, both born in the provincial Turkish countryside and struggling to make futures for themselves among the laborers and pushcart-vendors of Istanbul. But there is one important difference: Mehmet comes from Tire, in the western region of the nation, while Berzan comes from the east ? the Kurdish border with Iraq, an area ravaged not only by natural disasters but separatist rebellions and martial-law crackdowns. The honest, somewhat naive Mehmet meets the politically-active Berzan during an anti-Kurd riot and the two become pals, although, ironically, it is Mehmet's dark hair and skin that set him apart and label him as Kurd in the hostile eyes of police, employers, even his girlfriend's family. Falsely arrested and brutalized on charges of terrorism, Mehmet learns first-hand the harsh facts of government "uncles" who monitor and harass Berzan and his associates, and the accusing scarlet "X" painted on dwellings suspected of harboring Kurds. Radicalized, Mehmet risks everything to help his friend Berzan, even if it means a perilous trek across the land, past military checkpoints, and toward the rising sun to a mysterious town named Zorduch... (In Turkish with English subtitles.)

Yesim Ustaoglu (based on a story by Tayfun Pirseloglu).

Yesim Ustaoglu

Behrooz Hashemian.

Jacek Petrycki.

Principal Cast
Nazmi Qirix, Newroz Baz, Mizgin Kapazan, Nigar Aktar, Iskender Bagcilar, Ara G?ler.

Film Contact
Questions? >


Check out our extensive CIFF45 FAQs for answers to all your CIFF45 Streams questions.

Donate >


Your donation helps fulfill our mission to promote artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition.

Sign up for our email newsletter

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram
  • youtube
  • flickr
  • alexa
  • foursquare



We promise you, it will make a difference!

Give Today