An historic East London venue will be screening the UK film premiere of not one but two Turkish films at the end of this month. In a superb double bill, Oxford House and The Hamlets Pop-Up Cinema will present award-winning short film Mutluluk / Happiness, followed by acclaimed mockumentary Benim Varoş Hikayem / My Suburban Story.
Benim Varoş Hikayem / My Suburban Story was released in Turkey last year to rave reviews. It is set in the back streets of Adana, southern Turkey, where director Yunus Ozan Korkut captures the essence of life through the eyes and tales of brilliant local characters living in Ceyhan, on the outskirts of the city.
Korkut, who is also from Adana, draws on his circle – family, friends, neighbours and other local notables – for this rare and authentic insight into their untold and, to the outsider, invisible world. His exquisite palette of personalities include Culluk Yusuf the expert bird-thief, feminist former village headwoman Naime, Devran who loves to prop up the bar, and local strongman Cihangir Abi.
The film’s strength comes from its sincere storytelling: Benim Varoş Hikayem / My Suburban Story is both funny and heart-warming, and yet it doesn’t shy away from the darkness: the poverty, and the unfairness and uphill struggles of their lives.
The film is 30-year-old Korkut’s debut feature length film, having previously produced and directed six shorts, including his award-winning Mualla (2015).
Double-bill: Mutluluk / Happiness
As part of February’s Turkey theme, The Hamlets will also screen award-winning short Mutluluk / Happiness before the main feature. The 12-minute clip was written, directed and produced by Necip Caghan Ozdemir and tells the story of a man working at a car repair shop who is determined to overcome the gloom and misery around him to spread happiness.
Going Turkish in Bethnal Green with Wood Mangal
After the films, what better way to complete our Turkish experience than by popping into nearby Wood Mangal for a delicious Turkish meal? A firm favourite among locals, the restaurant is described as having “Quality food and exceptional service”. Their menu includes classic dishes, from Turkish pizza to famous stews and tasty kebabs, and suitably, given the main film is set in Adana, a rather fine Adana kebab. And to top things off, the lovely people at Wood Mangal are giving all Hamlets film-goers a 10% discount off their bill on the night.
Seats for this fantastic twin UK premiere are selling very quickly, so buy your tickets early to avoid disappointment. Admission is just £3 per person plus booking fee, available from Eventbrite, or £5 on the night (should any tickets remain). See below for details on how to book online.
The Hamlets Pop-Up Cinema, a community film club that travels to unique venues across the London Borough of Tower Hamlets showing movies from around the world that reflect the diverse roots of the people living and working in the borough. The project is managed by film charity Balik Arts and funded by Tower Hamlets Council as part of its Thriving High Streets programme.
UK film premiere screening details
Event: The Hamlets presents the UK film premieres of Benim Varoş Hikayem / My Suburban Story) + 12 mins (Mutluluk / Happiness
Language: both films Turkish with English subtitles
Film Classification: 15 (tbc)
Date: Tuesday 27th February 2018
Start Time: 7.15pm
Duration: 79 mins (Benim Varoş Hikayem / My Suburban Story) + 12 mins (Mutluluk / Happiness)
Venue: Oxford House, Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green, London E2 6HG
Admission: £3 + booking fee (screening only, dinner at Wood Mangal is extra).
Tickets: Buy tickets to the film screening via Eventbrite
Post-screening dinner at Wood Mangal
Date: Tuesday 27th February 2018
Venue: Wood Mangal, 29 Bethnal Green Road, Bethnal Green, London E2 6AH
Reservation: no prior booking is needed. Just turn up after the screening and say you’re from The Hamlets to qualify for your 10% discount.
For more info about the restaurant: Tel 020 7739 9121 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their Facebook page
Main photo top: A still from award-winning Turkish short film Mutluluk/Happiness starring Rıza Akın, written & directed by Necip Caghan Ozdemir