During the 1970s and 1980s, the Turkish film industry was churning out hundreds of movies each year. Many were shameless low-budget rip-offs of American box office hits: from Superman (Süpermen Dönüyor, 1979) to Star Wars (Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam, 1982), and E.T. (Badi, 1983) to the Wizard of Oz (Ayşecik ve Sihirli Cüceler Rüyalar Ülkesinde, 1971).
At the time, Turkey refused to recognise international copyright laws, which the Turkish film industry took as a green light to pillage storylines, music and entire scenes to remake hundreds of Hollywood movies. What they lacked in resources, Turkey’s film writers, producers and directors made up for in their ingenuity: their hilarious plots came complete with Turkish superheroes and loveable homemade characters doing their own crazy stunts, which Turkish audiences and the Diaspora lapped up.
Over the years, and especially with the advent of the internet, these films – known as Turkish exploitation cinema – have become available to wider audiences, who delight in their cheap production values and ridiculously entertaining imitations of Western blockbusters. It’s turned these movies into cult classics in their own right.
Cem Kaya grew up in Germany watching these films. A decade ago he decided to document these vintage years in Turkish cinema. Through multiple clips and interviews, his two-hour film essay captures the best of this insane era.
On Monday night, Remake, Remix, Rip-Off: About Copy Culture & Turkish Pop Cinema will be screened at the Cinema Museum as part of the launch event of the REMAKESPLOITATION film club. Kaya is travelling over from Berlin especially for the event, where he will introduce the film and do a Q&A afterwards.
Dr Iain Robert Smith (King’s College London), author of the new book The Hollywood Meme: Transnational Adaptations in World Cinema will also be on hand to discuss these Turkish remakes alongside other examples of remakesploitation such as the 1966 Filipino film James Batman in which James Bond and Batman team up to fight crime, and the 2008 Bollywood film Ghajini in which Memento is remade in chronological order.
Doors open at 18.30 for a 19.00 start. Tickets for the event are £5. Food and drink, including tasty Turkish snacks, will also be available for purchase.
This event is being run in association with the Yunus Emre Institute in London, supported by the Goethe Institut, Creative Skillset, and Free Film Festivals.
Title: Remake, Remix, Rip-Off: About Copy Culture & Turkish Pop Cinema (2014) by Cem Kaya.
Date: Monday 28th November 2016
Venue address: The Cinema Museum, Dugard Way, Elephant and Castle, London SE11 4TH
Event times: doors open 6.30pm, screening starts 7pm, with Q&A after. Ends 10.30pm
Tickets: via Eventbrite