Title: TOZ BEZI (Dust Cloth)
Language: Turkish / Kurdish (OV), English (ST), German (ST)
Nesrin and Hatun are two Kurdish cleaning women living in Istanbul. While Nesrin tries to survive with her little daughter in the big city, trying to understand why her husband left her, Hatun dreams of buying a house in the districts where she goes to clean.
CAST & CREW
Writer & Director:
Çiğdem Mater (TR)
Nesra Gürbüz (TR)
Stefan Gieren (DE)
Two cleaning ladies, their relationships with the people whose homes they clean, the
conflicts in their daily lives, the hierarchies in their close friendships and family
relations, their struggle to cling to life, as well as womanhood and motherhood, housecleaning and poverty...
Shuttling between the destitution and wealth of the city, Nesrin and Hatun try to
understand life and find a way of their own. As Hatun tries to save up enough money to buy a home in a neighborhood where she cleans houses, Nesrin struggles with the
absence of her husband and her own loneliness, while also trying to find a way through
life with her five year-old daughter. The paths of these two women may be different, but their companionship is enduring as they cling to disparate dreams.
TOZ BEZI is the gripping debut feature film by director Ahu Öztürk.
The Berlinale-selected drama focusses on the challenges of two mothers - members of the Kurdish minority in Istanbul.
Öztürk takes an intimate look at the community that's in the epicentre of an ethnic conflict that dominates Turkish politics today.
The project has received awards at major co-production markets during its development phase - such as Sarajevo Cinelink, Holland Film Meetings and Meetings On The Bridge.
It unites some of the most notable newcomers of Turkish cinema today with well-known actors like Serra Yilmaz or Nazan Kesal in an (almost) all-female team.
It was one of the clearest memories from my childhood. We came to Istanbul to visit our relatives. First stop was my aunt, and one day, I traveled from her one-roomed flat to a three-roomed one. This was the first time that I encountered the private realm of middle class. When she was cleaning, I touched objects that I had never seen before; I was astonished. We were alone; I felt that I was so close to everything. I could even lie on bed, but there was an imaginary wall that prevented me from doing it. This represents a distance that I know intuitively from my indigent life.
Being annoyed of this distance, my mum shared a secret with me when we came back. The secret was the fact that my aunt was a cleaning woman and I should not tell this to anyone. After my college years where I met with leftist ideology, the first indication of carrying this secret was my class resentment. Afterwards, when I started working, the conversation of my colleagues about their problems with their cleaning woman reminded me of this feeling again. They hired a cleaning woman because they see this as a symbol of the class that they wish to belong, and these long conversations became the highlights of this thought.
So, where was I?
Two years ago, when a relative of mine who works as a cleaning woman came to visit us and said that she is a Circassian, I was shocked. This is the same woman that I knew her mother had died without knowing any language other than Kurdish, and she was standing in front of me like a surreal character without being defeated to any rational explanation. This helped me understand that Kurdish identity can be experienced very differently in Turkey and the point that we can touch reality is hidden in this heterogeneity.
I thought a lot about my urge to tell this story of my aunt. First, I looked for answers in the cultural, political, and ethical eras. After all these, what I reached was shame. It was not the shame that I felt about these women of my family, it was the shame of feeling this shame. So I decided to write the story, knowing that it is the only way of recovering.
When I started to work on this film, I believed that I will catch the nature and reality, as I was part of this world. However, I understood that I do not belong to this world anymore. Because belonging to that class means being speechless, silent, but I found a language to tell these stories. So even I try to catch the reality, it is a personal film.
We know Ahu Öztürk through her first short film titled OPEN WOUND. She contacted us about three years ago with a story that caught us immediately with its modesty and simplicity as well as its powerful observation.
We believe that it is important to show this aspect of Turkey, through the story of two Kurdish women. The film will give us the chance to witness two different versions of Istanbul, that is Kartal -the shanty town and Moda, -the rich upper-middle class neighborhood in Anatolian side. At the same time, we will see contemporary Turkey via different women characters from two different social classes.
One of the things that excited us as producers in this film is that, Istanbul becomes a character itself with its different neighborhoods and the different means of transport that connects them.
Dust Cloth is a film about the contradictions and complexity of a simple life and relationships and how hierarchy is constructed in every layers of relationships. It treats issues like; layers of two women’s friendship, visible or non visible walls of class relationships, and ethnicity as something to run away from at some point or something to take shelter in at another.
Dust Cloth is a female drama / buddy film expressing the wishes and struggles of two Kurdish cleaning women in Turkey. It has a woman perspective from the inside; although it touches big and tragic topics, it is also a buddy film with everyday lives, lively and humorous dialogues of these two close friends. Dust Cloth is a personal film and we feel lucky to work with Ahu Öztürk, who knows about the world that she talks about and has the talent to tell it both as a story-teller, and a film-maker.
She studied philosophy and cinema. In 2004, she directed her first documentary ‘Chest’. In 2010, she participated to ‘Tales from Kars’ of Festival on Wheels with her short ‘Open Wound’. ‘Open Wound’ has been showed in many international film festivals such as Rotterdam, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Sarajevo, Beirut. Dust Cloth is her first feature film project and got CNC Award at Meetings on the Bridge Film Development Workshop in Istanbul, April 2012 and the EAVE Scholarship award at Cinelink Co-Production Market in Sarajevo, July 2012.
2004 “Sandık” (Chest), 48’ (documentary)
The 7th International Exile Film Festivali-2005
Festival de Cinema Politic-2005
2010 “Açık Yara” (Tales from Kars), 21’ (short film)
Rotterdam Film Festival 2010
İstanbul Film Festival 2010
Jerusalem Film Festival 2010
Sarajevo Film Festival 2010
Warshaw Film Festival 2010
Beirut Film Festival 2010
Hamburg Film Festival 2010
Vancouver Film Festival 2010
Valencia Film Festival 2010
Brastislava Film Festival 2010
Mumbai Film Festival 2010
Londra Turkish Film Festival 2010
Festival on Wheels 2010
HİSAR Selection of Mithat Alam Film Center 2011
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