Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Thomas Arslan, a German filmmaker of Turkish descent, is best known for three critically acclaimed fictional films that keenly explore the lifestyles and day-to-day experiences of Turks living in Deutschland: Geschwister - Kardesler (1997), Dealer (1998) and Der Schone Tag (2001). Arslan's picture Aus der ferne (2006) represents the fourth film in this unofficial tetralogy, and the sole documentary effort in the series. With this project, Arslan resurrects cinema direct in its purest and most unadulterated form - that of objective observation with as little directorial interference or interpretation as possible. The concept involves laying out a tapestry out before the audience and allowing each viewer to hone in on what he or she deems most important. The film has Arslan traveling to the land of his ancestors, cameras rolling, with a tiny crew. They begin in Istanbul - a generally modern city with overwhelming western European influence - and travel east, to the culturally specific cities of: Ankara, Ganziantep, Diyarbakir, Van and Dogubayazit (on the Iranian border). Along the way, Arslan resists the temptation to visit family monuments and locales, and instead observes whatever crosses his path, notably the vast differences in social class between Turkish children, and Turkish forms of recreation, such as ping pong and indigenous dances. His overall emphases are anthropological, sociological and behavioral.
heritage, journey, observations, social-classes, Turkey